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This Anti-Secrecy Library Is donated 
hy the National Christian Association, on the 
assurance, given on the part of the College, 
that the books should have a good position 
and be accessible to the students. 

If at any time changes should occur, so that 
these provisions could not be carried out, 
please notify the National Christian Associ- 
ation, 221 West Madison Street, Chicago, 111., 
that measures may be taken for their return. 



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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. 

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MAR .28 .1894 , 189 










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HOLDEN WITH CORDS 



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Ur 1 GJMLl 



A FAITHFUL REPRESENTATION IN STORY OF THE EVIL INFLUENCE OF 



FREEMASONRY 



FLAGO, 

Author of "Little People" "A Sunny Life" Etc, 



CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 

EZRA A. COOK, PUBLISHER, 

1883. 



* Entered according to Act of Congress In the year 1883, 

BY EZRA A. COOK, 
In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C. 






. PUBLISHER'S PREFACE. 

The educating influence of stories both for good 
and evil is everywhere recognized. The vile anecdotes 
of the bar-room and saloon debauch the conscience 
worse than the liquor they drink does their bodies. 
It is notorious that it is neither the most eloquent or 
worthy politician, but he who can give the most sensa- 
tional illustrations, that stands the best chance of elec- 
tion. 

The popular legends and fables of a nation indicate 
and largely determine the character of the people. 

Masonic writers have not been backward in the use 
of legends and narratives to bolster up that institution. 

Albert G. Mackey, the most influential and extensive 
Masonic writer of this country is the author of a book 
entitled " THE MYSTIC TIE, or Facts and Opinions 
Illustrative of the Character and Tendency of Freema- 
sonry." Of course the object of the work is to show 
by what Masonry has done for men, its practical value, 
and such chapter headings as u Freemasonry Among 
Pirates," "Masonic Courtesy in War" and u The Soldier 
Mason," show the object of the author. Such stories 
have doubtless led many to join the order, that by its 
mystic power they might be safe among pirates and 
other outlaws, little thinking they were at the same 
time obligating themselves to shield these outlaws from 
deserved punishment. 



4 PREFACE. 

But the power for good of narrations illustrative of 
God's dealing with individuals affd nations must not be 
overlooked, for this forms a large portion of God's 
Word, and Christ himself employed narratives and 
parables with great power in his teachings. 

Bunyan's beautiful allegories have shown many the 
blessedness of u walking with God,' 1 and the influence 
of " Uncle Tom's Cabin " in showing the people the 
abominations of human slavery can scarcely be over- 
estimated, because it was a true picture of that iniqui- 
tous system. Like the volume before the reader it was 
a recital of facts, with but enough of the garb of fiction 
for a covering. 

For ample proof of the accuracy of the sketch 
of the abduction and murder of Wm. Morgan and 
the trials that followed, the reader is referred to 
the " Broken Seal," by Samuel D. Greene, and to 
the "History of the Abduction of Capt. Wm. Mor- 
gan," prepared by seven committes of leading citizens 
of the Empire State. And for the story of Mary 
Lyman's wrongs the pamphlet entitled "Judge Whit- 
ney's Defense,' 1 furnishes ample material. All of these 
may be had in pamphlet form by addressing the pub- 
lisher of this work. 

After reading the aforesaid pamphlets the reader will 
certainly be ready to exclaim, " Surely facts are stranger 
than fiction," and will be able better to see how the 
thousands of our land can be thus HOLDER WITH COBDS 
of secret iniquity. THE PUBLISHER. 



OTITS 
"-' 



CONTENTS, 

CHAPTER. PAGE. 

I. MY GRANDFATHER'S ADVICE 11 

Mackey Asserts that Masonry is a ' 'Religious Institution, " Note 1 . . 12 

Chase .-ays "Masonry has nothing whatever to do with the Bible.".. 12 

Morris tells the "Allurements" of the Lodge, Note 3 12 

"Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, Note 4.. 12 

Grandfather's Masonic Experience in a French Prison 13 

" Secrecy has a mystic binding almost supernatural force," Note 5.. 14 

II. THE "COMMON AND PROFANE" DISCUSSING FREEMASONRY 19 

III. A MYSTERIOUS BOOK CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY 25 

Initiation ' 'a death to the World and a resurrection to a new llf e"Note 6 29 

Mackey Hints at the Stripping for Initation, Note 7 29 

Taking the Entered Apprentice Oath 30 

"The importance of secret keeping, '' Note 8 31 

"The shock of enlightenment, " Note 9 32 

' 'The social hour at high XII, " Note 10 33 

IV. A TALK WITH MY GRANDFATHER .- 34 

4 'This surrender of free-will to Masonic authority is absolute^Note 11 34 

"Masonry is a religious institution, " Note 12 35 

"The dignity of the institution depends mainly up >n its age," Note 13 36 

V. PREPARATION FOR A JOURNEY PASSED AND RAISED." 38 

"It isthe obligation which makes the Mason, " Note 14 38 

' 'Entered Apprentices are possessed of very few rights, " Note 15 .. 45 

VI. AN EVENING WITH RACHEL 47 

"Do you suppose the Good Samaritan was a Freemason?" 49 

VII. A CERTAIN MAN WENT DOWN FROM JERICHO 53 

' ' A violent blow on the head that knocked me senseless from the 

saddle" 59 

' ' The horseman had flung himself off and was listening to my tale " 57 

' ' Don't go to maddening me with any of your grips and signs " . . . . 59 

VIII. MRS. HAGAN'S OPINION OF ELDER GUSHING 60 

' ' Honest Ben Hagan " . 61 

IX. MR. HAGAN T^LLS WHAT HE KNOWS ABOUT MASONRY 67 

"Placing a drawn sword across the throat," Note IB 72 

Treason and Rebellion not Masonic Offences, Note 17 7ii 

4 'I promised to help a companion in any difficulty, right or wrong" . . 74 

X. A MASONIC MURDER SUCCESS AND RETURN HOME 76 

XI. MORE TALK WITH MY GRANDFATHER A MODERN PAN. 87 



6 COHTEBTTS. 

CHAPTEB. PAGE. 
XII A FEW MASONIC PUZZLES 98 

XIII. MASONIC BONDAGE. SAM TOLLER'S AFFAIBS, 107 

XIV. A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE NOT OF '76. SAM TOLLER 

MISSING 115 

XV. THE SPRING OF 1826. SAM TOLLER. "COMING EVENTS CAST 

THEIR SHADOWS BEFORE" 126 

XVI. AN ADHERING FREEMASON INCAPABLE OF ENTIRE LOYALTY TO 

HIS WIFE. A LODGE QUARREL. JACHIN AND BOAZ 134 

XVII LUKE THATCHER. KUMORS. MASONRY IN ITS KELIGIOUS AS- 
PECTS , 144 

XVIII. THE GATHERING STORM 152 

XIX. A NIGHT IN BATAYIA 162 

XX AN EXCITING SCENE 176 

XXI. THE MYSTERIOUS CARRIAGE 187 

XXII. MARK EELATES HIS MASONIC EXPERIENCES 197 

' ' The ties of a Eoyal Arch Mason, " Note 23 200 

"Libations are still used In some of the higher degrees, "Note 24 200 

"That vail of mystery that awful secrecy, " Note 25 200 

"The Ancient Freemasonry that was practiced in the Mysteries, " 

Note 26 ... 203 

" The Worshipful Master himself is a representative of the sun," 

Note 27 203 

XXIII AN EVENING IN THE LODGE 207 

' The Ancient Mysteries, " Note 23 210 

XXIV. FREEMASONRY'S MASK REMOVED SILENT ANTIMASONS, THE 
CIRCUIT PREACHER. RACHEL FINDS PEACE. HE GIVETH 

His BELOVED SLEEP 217 

XXV. MOVING. THE MASONIC OBLIGATION REMOVED. THE WARFARE 

BEGINS 229 

XXVI. THE FALL OF 1826. OUR JOURNEY. FREEMASONRY vs. JUSTICE 238 

XXVII THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 249 

XXVIII. MASONRY REVEALED SAM TOLLER'S MASONRY. THE MYSTERY 

OF OAK ORCHARD CREEK 257 

XXIX. SUNDRY HAPPENINGS 267 

XXX. MASONIC SLANDER. THE ENGAGEMENT. RATTLESNAKE COBNEU 275 

XXXI. NEW SCENES AND OLD FACES 286 

XXXII. THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY 294 

XXXIII. AUGEAN STABLES 301 

XXXIV. ONE MORE UNFORTUNATE 308 

XXXV. MASONRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. Vox POPULI, Vox DEI 317 

XXXVI. SOME EXAMPLES OF MASONIC BENEVOLENCE AND MORALITY 333 

XXXVII. HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF 348 

" Masonry is strong enough to spread its protecting wing over 

the vilest criminal" 349 

XXXVIII. UNDER THE JUNIPER TREE 360 

XXXIX. A FORETASTE 369 

LX. THK VICTORY OVER THE BEAST 376 

** I would not wish to enter Heaven with one honorable scar the 

less" 379 

*Will you be the slaves of the lodge, HOLDER WITH CORDS of 

secret iniquity?" 884 



INTRODUCTION. 



For clothing fact in the garb of fiction the writer 
deems no apology necessary, having only followed in 
so doing the universal fashion of the day; but in order 
to establish between author and reader a sympathetic 
understanding from the outset, it has seemed both 
proper and needful to give some of the reasons which 
lead to the writing of this volume. 

Once in their past history has God in His providence 
placed before the American people a great moral issue 
that could be neither shirked, nor ignored, nor met 
half way. In vain statesmen compromised, in vain 
pulpit and press cried " peace, peace!' 1 when there was 
no peace. God continually sent ''prophets and righteous 
men," who kept that one issue sternly before the pop- 
ular mind, and in many cases sealed the truth they 
spoke with their blood. The sequel we all know. The 
question God had been asking the American nation so 
many years in the terrible, relentless logic of events, 
was forced upon us at last but it was at the point of 
the sword. Shall the lesson be in vain? 

It would seem as if God intended America to be the 
great moral battle field for the world. In her freedom 
from priestcraft and kingcraft; in the sacred traditions 
that cluster about her past and the bow of promise 
which spans her future she occupies a vantage ground 
in such moral struggles impossible of attainment to a 
people fettered, as are the nations of the Old World, 



8 INTKODTJCTION. 

with the remnants of feudalism, and bowed down with 
centuries of oppression, and toil, and ignorance. To 
America, the pole star of the world's liberties, their 
eyes are looking with loflf ing desire. In every great 
question that agitates us, which affects the freedom of 
our government and the stability of our institutions, 
they have a vital interest. Shall the simple, hardy, 
honest emigrant escaping from the despotisms of Eu- 
rope, find enthroned on our shores the more hopeless 
despotism of the Secret Empire, with its Grand Mas- 
ters and Sir Knights and Sublime Princes, its Kings 
and Prelates and Inquisitor Generals, its secret cliques 
and rings and combinations? This is one phase of the 
question which the sons of Pilgrim and Revolutionary 
sires will be called upon at no distant day to answer, 
and whether the shadow on the dial-plate of human 
freedom is to go forward or backward in the next gen- 
eration depends in no small degree on the readiness 
with which they wake to the danger and their right 
understanding of a subject fraught with such far-reach- 
ing consequences to themselves and their posterity. 

Thus it will be seen that the writer would have found 
in motives of mere patriotism more than sufficient ex- 
cuse for desiring to embody in a living dramatic form 
a true picture of the Masonic system both in its past 
history and its present revival. From the Morgan 
tragedy, unlocked at last by the sworn testimony of 
that great Christian statesman, Thurlow Weed, to the 
closing scenes of the book, not a single incident of im- 
portance has been introduced which cannot be easily 
veritied, the writer allowing no artistic considerations 
to blunt the force of that mightiest of weapons against 
error the simple, unvarnished truth. 



INTRODUCTION. 9 

But weighty as is this reason and let the reader 
judge for himself if indifference to such facts as are 
here presented is compatible with sincere love of coun- 
try another and even highery^eason was the primary 
force which first urged the writing of these pages. 

For again God is calling the American people to face 
a second great moral issue, greater than the first inas- 
much as the evil we are now called upon to combat is 
not merely local and sectional but national; not merely 
national but world-wide. Slavery was a foul excrescence 
requiring the surgeon's knife; secretism is a subtle poi- 
son which, if not speedily erradicated from our body 
politic will make " the. whole head sick and the whole 
heart faint." Again God is commanding, " Proclaim 
liberty to the captives," for though slavery exists no 
longer there is a system of spiritual bondage in our 
midst, a fettering of mind and conscience worthy of 
the darkest days of priestly tyranny. And every 
church, every individual Christian, who through dread 
of agitation, fear of stirring up strife or mere lazy in- 
difference countenances this great evil or refuses to bear 
witness against it, has the fearful guilt to answer for of 
forging those fetters anew. 

More than all, Masonry is a religion, and as there can 
be but one true religion in the world any more than 
there can be but one true God, it follows that it is either 
a false religion or else for eighteen hundred years the 
hopes of humanity have centered about a cunningly 
devised fable of a certain Divine Man who came on 
earth, died for sinners, and rose again to be their eternal 
Friend and Intercessor which was all quite unneces- 
sary if Daniel Sickels, a distinguished Masonic writer, 
is correct when, in speaking of the Master Mason, he 



10 INTRODUCTION. 

says: "We now find man complete in morality and 
intelligence, with the stay of RELIGION added, to insure 
him of the protection of the Deity and guard him 
against ever going astray. These three degrees thus 
form a perfect and harmonious whole; nor can we con- 
ceive that anything can be suggested more which the 
soul of man requires." SickeTs Monitor, p. 97. Be- 
lieving devoutly " in one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ 
of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is 
named," the writer felt called of God to show the anti- 
Christian character of the Masonic system, but at the 
same time it is hoped that the reader will recognize in 
the portraits of Leander's grandfather and Anson 
Lovejoy a desire to do justice to the many good men 
w r ho have been and still are caught in the snare of the 
lodge. In truth, throughout the writing of this vol- 
ume two classes have been kept continually in view as 
especially needing enlightenment Masons and non- 
Masons; the former being in nine cases out of ten 
actually the most ignorant of the real nature and de- 
signs of the institution to which they have sworn away 
their, liberties and their lives. 

These, in brief, are the author's reasons for present- 
ing this work to the public, in the hope that many 
honest and candid minds both in and out of the lodge 
may be lead thereby to a still fartKer investigation of 
its character and claims. 

"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither 
cometh to the light lest his deeds should be reproved. But 
he that doeth truth cometh to the light that his deeds may 
be made manifest that they are wrought in God." 

E. E. F. 





CHAPTER I. 



HAD just attained my majority. If 
this sounds like an abrupt as well 
as egotistical way of beginning a 
story, to people who do not care to 
waste their time reading long para- 
bles, it will at least have the merit of 
simplicity and directness, while as respects 
the second charge the very fact just stated is 
sufficient answer. I was egotistical. I thought 
a great deal more of myself than the world did, or was 
ever likely to. 

But, as I said, I had just attained my majority. My 
grandfather, seated taanquilly in his favorite corner, 
felt it incumbent on him to give me some advice. It 
was very good and excellent advice, of the same general 
sort that is always given to young people, and I need 
not repeat it here, except to say that counsel very like 
it may be found in certain old-fashioned moral essays 
called the Proverbs of King Solomon. 

" Now, Leander," said my grandfather, laying down 
his pipe for a final and solemn winding up, "you will 
be a useful and honored man if you strictly obey these 
rules. It is like the law of gravity, or any other great 
principle in nature. You cannot disregard them with- 
out suffering the consequences and making your friends 
suffer with you. But I am going to speak of something 



12 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

else. You are the right age now to become a Freema- 
son, and I am of opinion that it would be an excellent 
thing. No one can be a good Mason without a belief in 
God 1 and the Bible, 2 and strict attendance to his moral 
duties, so that it developes and trains a sense of moral 
obligation in its members from the outset. Then there 
are, of course, other advantages, 3 though I don't want 
you to get the habit of always looking at the worldly 
side of everything. We are immortal souls and should 
remember that this is not our final abiding place. Still, 
it is proper to use all right means for advancement in 
life, and becoming a Mason will be a great help to you, 
Leander, now that you are just about to start in busi- 
ness for yourself. All the members of the fraternity 
will be, bound to consider your success as their own, and 
should you ever travel, or be taken sick away from 
friends, you have onl}" to give the necessary sign and 
any true Mason will minister to your wants like a 
brother. 4 Now I have a story to tell at this point that 

NOTE 1." The truth is, that Masonry is undoubtedly a religious institution- 
Its religion being of that universal kind in which all men agree, and which. 
handed down through a long succession of ages from that ancient priesthood 
who first taught it, embraces the great tenets of the existence of God and the 
immortality of the soul; tenets which by its peculiar symbolic language, it has 
preserved from its foundation, and still continues in the same beautiful way to 
teach. Beyond this for its religious faith, we must not and cannot go." 
Mackey's Masonic Jurisprudence, page 95. 

NOTES. "Blue Lodge Masonry has nothing whatever to do with the Bible. 
It is not founded on the Bible; if it was it would not be Masonry; it would be 
something else." Chase's Digest of Masonic Law, page 207. 

NOTE 8. " The allurements to unite with the Masonic fraternity partake of 
the nature of personal advantages. It were folly to deny that while the appli- 
cant is willing to impart good to his fellows, he expects equally to receive 
good.' 1 * * * " The prime advantages derived from a connection with Blue 
Lodge Masonry may be summed up under three heads, viz: relief In distress, 
counsel in difficulty, protection in danger." Morris's Dictionary, Art., Ad- 
vantages. 

NOTE 4. "Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion." Mor- 
ris's Dictionary; Art., Brotherly Love. 



MT GRANDFATHER'S ADYTCE. 13 

happened let us see over twenty years ago, and I 
don't know but as much as twenty-five. I guess it was, 
for you wasn't born then, Leander. Well, well, l Life's 
an empty show,' as the hymnbook says." 

My grandfather sighed and took a pinch of snuff. 

I had heard the story before but was not averse to 
hearing it again. I am afraid the idea of any moral or 
religious benefit to be gained by taking the step he so 
strongly advised did not impress me very deeply. Bub 
on the other hand the idea of joining a fraternitj 7 , all 
the members of which would be bound to help me on 
in life, I did find especially agreeable, for reasons that 
need not now be stated. 

u At the close of the last century," began my grand- 
father, "French cruisers, as you know, were greatly 
troubling our commerce. I was captain of the ' Martha 
Ann,' and the deck of a stauncher, trimmer vessel I 
never trod. I shipped with a good crew, tried and able 
seamen; so, getting all things together, I was calculat- 
ing by the help of Providence to have a pretty prosper- 
ous, voyage. The idea of being captured hardly entered 
my head till we were captured, ship, cargo, crew and 
all by a French frigate that swooped down on the 
1 Martha Ann ' like a hawk on a chicken^ We were 
carried to the nearest French seaport and thrown into 
prison, a vile, clftse hole where we nearly smothered. 
The place must have been some old fortress, I think, 
for there were slits in the wall like port holes, only so 
high from the ground that we had to make a ladder of 
each other's shoulders when we wanted to look out. 
We could catch a glimpse of the water and the ships r 
and though the sight used to make us so homesick that 
half of us cried like babies, we all wanted to take one 



14 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

turn in looking. I tell you, Leander, I felt a thousand 
times worse for my poor men than I ever did for my- 
self." 

I did not doubt this statement in the least. My dear 
grandfather had the kindest heart that ever beat in 
mortal bosom. His very silver snuff-box reflected the 
benevolence of his face like a radiator. 

u One day, 1 ' he continued, " a military officer visited 
the prison. I believe he was some sort of General In- 
spector or something of the sort, and it flashed through 
my mind that very possibly he was a Mason. Without 
stopping to think I gave the sign of distress, to which 
he promptly responded. And now do you wonder that 
I rate highly the advantages of joining such an institu- 
tion a universal brotherhood as wide as the world? 
For remember, he was as ignorant of English as I was 
of French. Only his vow 5 as a Mason could have led 
him to take the smallest interest in my fate. Yet from 
that hour my condition was entirely changed. New 
and roomy^ quarters were given me, a new suit of 
clothes, good food and considerable freedom everything 
in short but the privilege of writing home to my family 
and friends. But the condition of my poor men 
weighed 6n my heart. I tried hard and used every 
means in my power to exert my in^ience as a Mason 

NOTE 5. " Secrecy has a mystic, binding, almost supernatural force, and 
unites men more closely together than all other means combined. Suppose two 
men, strangers, traveling in a distant country, should by some accident be 
brought together for a few brief moments, during which they happen to be the 
involuntary witnesses of some terrible deed, a deed which circumstances demand 
shall remain a secret between them forever. In all the wide world only these 
two men, and they strangers to each other, know the secret. They separate; 
continents and oceans and many eventful years divide them ; but they cannot 
forget each other, nor the dread mystery which binds them together as with an 
iron chain. Neither time nor distance can weaken that mighty bond. In that 
they are forever one. It is not, then, for any vain or frivolous purpose that 
Masonry appeals to the principle of secrecy. " Sickens Ahiman Rezon,, p. 63. 



MY GRANDFATHER'S ADVICE. 15 

in their behalf, but it was of no use. They had to re- 
main six months in that wretched prison, destitute of 
every comfort, till finally the difficulties were settled 
between our government and the French, when we 
were all set free." 

u But I can't see why this officer, whoever he was, 
was not bound by his Masonic oath to heed your ap- 
peal in behalf of the poor sailors," I said, rather in- 
consequently, as my grandfather proceeded to show. 

" They were noi Masons. We must draw a dividing 
line somewhere. Because a general rule sometimes 
bears very hard on a particular case it doesn't follow 
that the rule is not good. To allow outsiders to share 
its benefits would only end in the destruction of the 
order. Nothing could be plainer. But then Leander, 
if you don't care to join just yet I won't urge it. 
There's plenty of time." 

My grandfather evidently thought he had said 
enough, but his sudden lapse into a tone and manner, 
seemingly half indifferent, by some curious law of con- 
traries produced more effect on me than his former 
earnest strain. 

" I don't want to put off doing anything that would 
really be an advantage to me," t said. 

My grandfather looked gratified. 

" I'm glad to hear you say so, Leander. Procrastina- 
tion is a bad thing. It has ruined the prospects of 
many a young man before now. If a thing is right 
and proper to do, nothing is gained, but sometimes a 
good deal is lost by delay." 

My grandfather shook the ashes from his pipe and 
said no more, while I suddenly remembering some neg- 
lected farm duties, to which the moral reflections he 



16 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

had just uttered were certainly very apropos, took my 
hat from its peg and hurried out. 

It was the spring of 1826. It was also the spring 
time of the Nineteenth century, ushered in for the Old 
World in fierce storm and conflict, for us of the New 
in comparative peace and quiet, though the year 1812 
had left scars on our prosperity not wholly effaced, 
while there was even then in the atmosphere of the 
times, at least for those who had ears to hear, " a sound 
as of a going in the tops of the mulherry trees 1 ' a 
stir of contending moral forces, of great questions to 
be answered, and great issues to be met how answered 
and how met, ye brave souls who have stood so nobly 
for God and right, even in the very darkest hour of 
wrong's seeming triumph, tell us! 

In our small wilderness community, with few books 
and fewer newspapers, we knew little and cared less for 
the differing issues of the day, but there are always 
some souls who seem to be electrically responsive to 
the times they are born into, and such a one was my 
second cousin and nearest neighbor, Mark Stedman. 
To a slightly built frame was coupled one of those 
ardent, longing, religious souls that are ever striv- 
ing after unattained the world says unattainable 
ideals. 

'He had taught our district school two winters, but in 
the summer he worked on his father's farm. Astrono- 
my and theology were his favorite studies. They fed 
his love of the sublime a.nd the mysterious, while they 
ministered to the deepest cravings of a nature at once 
reverent and speculative; ready to follow Truth to the 
world's ends, but afflicted with a certain moral near- 
sightedness that made him just as ready to follow Error 



17 

when she aped Truth, though in never so clumsy a 
fashion. 

It was, as I have said, a period of suppressed stir and 
ferment in the intellectual and religious life of the 
country a breaking away from the old forms of 
thought, a cutting loose from the anchor of the old 
creeds, and the subtle influence of the times could not 
fail to reach a soul so sympathetic and intense as Mark 
Stedman's, though with an effect a good deal like new 
wine in old bottles. 

How we ever became close friends may puzzle the 
reader. I can give no better explanation than tli3 
facts previously stated, that we were cousins and near 
neighbors, with this important addition, I was affianced 
to his sister Rachel. 

Of course the sagacious reader will at once perceive 
why my grandfather's advice was so peculiarly palata- 
ble. It was my ambition a very pardonable one cer- 
tainly to give Rachel a comfortable home at the out- 
set, and almost any stepping stone to success I felt 
warranted in mounting, unless it involved doing what 
was really mean or dishonorable. And that, one 
thought of Rachel, and the noble scorn that would 
flash from her black eyes if she knew it. had the power 
to stop me from on the instant. 

This being the case I was blessed with something 
like a double conscience. Her approval or disapproval, 
like a final verdict from the Supreme Bench, carried 
with it no possible chance of appeal. Yet with all her 
stern sense of right she was a most gentle creature, 
pitiful to a worm, careful of everybody's feelings, and 
ready to show kindness to the most degraded human 
being. 



18 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

T had no thought of entering the lodge without first 
talking over the suhject with her. I felt that her prac- 
tical good sense would be quick to see the advantage of 
such a step, and 1 * being by this time fully persuaded 
that it was entirely and solely for her sake that 1 con- 
templated taking it, I was naturally not unwilling that 
she should be cognizant of this fact. 

But on paying my customary visit at the Stedman's 
I found only Mark at home, seated on the back stoop 
with a book and a piece of paper before him on which 
he was drawing some complicated diagram by the fail- 
ing sunset light. Rachel was spending the afternoon 
with a neighbor and had not yet returned. 

It was so warm and pleasant I declined his invitation 
to go in, but took a seat beside him on the stoop, and 
after a little preliminary talk, rather absently sustained 
by Mark, whose soul was in his beloved calculations, I 
began upon the subject just now uppermost in my 
thoughts. 

" Mark, I'm thinking of joining the Freemasons. 
My grandfather strongly advises it, and when all is con- 
sidered I am not sure but it would really be as he says, 
the very best thing I could do." 

Mark chewed a spear of grass in silence. But his 
abstracted manner was entirely gone, and I could see 
that my communication had for some reason roused an 
unusual degree of interest, though he waited full three 
minutes before replying. 




CHAPTER II. 



ELL, Leander," he said at last, "what is 
your principal reason for wishing to join 
the Masons, anyway?" 

u The idea of some practical benefit to 
me, of course. Their influence will help 
me on in my business, and be a great ad- 
vantage now that I am just starting in 
life." 

" I beg your pardon; but such a reason seems 
to me very low and unworthy. Motives of mere selfish 
interest ought hot to be the chief ones to sway men of 
principle and conscience when making any important 
decision; especially when it regards joining an institu- 
tion whose character and antiquity ranks it only next 
to the church itself. Even you, Leander, would shrink 
aghast from the thought of joining the church for any 
such reason as mere worldly benefit.' 1 

I listened in some amaze, for Mark in his earnestness 
was twirling and twisting the piece of paper on which 
he had drawn his half-finished diagram, into a shapeless 
quid between his thumb and finger a forgetfulne^s 
which evinced as nothing else could have done, that 
our subject of talk was, for the moment at least, of 
supreme and absorbing interest. 



20 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

u I know Masonry claims to be very old and to teach 
morality and religion and all that sort of thing," I said 
at length. " But the fact is, you and I belong to two 
different sets of beings. I am of the earth, earthy. 
I'll frankly own up to it. And you are well, some- 
where between heaven and earth most of the time, and 
I guess a little nearest heaven of the two. After all, I 
don't understand this fuss about motives. If two roads 
lead to the same place, what great difference dyes it 
make which one I take? Though I don't join with an 
especial eye to these moral and religious considerations 
that you seem to think so much of, I suppose I shall 
get the benefit, of them just as much as those who 
do." 

" I am not so sure of that, Leander. Do gold and 
jewels lie on the surface of the ground for men to pick 
up at their will? And is truth, which is more valuable 
than topaz or ruby, to be gained at less cost? Doesn't 
it make all the difference in the world whether a man 
sets out to search for gold, or hunt for blackberries? If 
you join the lodge for mere worldly advancement you 
will probably get what you seek, but its higher and 
grander benefits, as they formed no part of your 
motive in entering, will not in all likelihood ever be 
yours." 

'"For pity's sake, Mark, why don't you join?" I 
asked, banteringly. u Does the Papal doctrine of 
supererogatory merit prevail in the lodge? I hope so. 
I am sure it would be very convenient for me and other 
poor sinners, for a few members like you scattered here 
and there would cover up all our shortcomings." 

" Leander, don't make a joke of serious things. I 
can't bear to have you. The fact is I have been think- 



FREEMASONKY DISCUSSED. 21 

ing over the matter for a long tivne ever since I had 
a talk with our minister, Elder Gushing. You know I 
never could see my way clear to join the church. I 
hope I am a Christian, but I never had the assurance. 
1 am sorry for my sins, but I was never visited with 
those deep convictions that others feel. And while 
these evidences are lacking I simply don't dare ap- 
proach the Lord's table for fear I may eat and ,drink 
unworthily, and so bring down on my head the guilt of 
unpardonable sin. I told him just how I felt, and he 
said that perhaps, on the whole, it would be better to 
wait till my evidences grew clearer. And then he be- 
gan to talk about Masonry, how it was the oldest and 
most venerable of institutions, sanctioned by the good 
and great of every age. Religion's strongest ally, 
teaching the most sublime principles of virtue, so that 
it was really like a kind of vestibule leading into the 
church itself. He strongly recommended me to join 
it as a kind of preparatory sisep. I have put it off for a 
good while, but I don't mean to any longer. Now 
you know my reasons, Leander, for becoming a 
Mason. 1 ' 

It is said by Christ that u the children of this world 
are in their generation wiser than the children of 
light." Even in this case I was a good deal wiser than 
Mark Stedman. But I made no audible comment ex- 
cept a low whistle under my breath which would bear 
any interpretation he chose to put upon it. 

u Have you told Rachel? 11 I finally asked. 

u No, but I have been meaning to; I hardly know 
why I haven't." 

The fact was I enjoyed more of Mark's confidence 
than his sister did. His poetical, mystical nature was 



22 HOLDER WITH COKDS. 

apt to shrink from the touchstone of her clear common 
sense. The very closeness of their near relationship, 
allowing as it did no vantage ground of distance from 
which to view each other, was in their case what it 
very often is a bar to mutual understanding. 

At that moment Rachel's light step parted the 
orchard grass. The gold and crimson had faded from 
the sky and in its place was the more heavenly glory of 
the eventide. There was the pale sickle of a young- 
moon overhead and a few stars had begun to tremble 
faintly out of the blue. She came forward with her 
bonnet untied and falling backward, and her brown 
cheek glowing with youth and health. Ruth might 
have looked thus hastening home from the harvest 
fields of Bethlehem. 

" I thought I heard my name spoken, 1 ' she said, as 
she came up. u What is the confab about, pray?" 

" We were talking about joining the Masons. What 
do you think about it, Rachel?" 

Rachel took her bonnet entirely off and twirled it 
by the string a moment before she replied. 

" I don't think anything about it. Why should I? 
In the first place I know nothing about it, and am 
never likely to. That is reason enough for keeping 
my opinions to myself. But I don't mind telling both 
of you that there are things about Masonry which I 
neither like nor understand. What is the need of 
secrecy, for instance? I should not have to ask that 
question about a band of thieves, or even a handful of 
patriots who had met to plot the overthrow of some 
tyrant such as we read of in history. But in a time of 
peace and a land of freedom what is the use, as I say, 
of secrecy?" 



FKEEMASONEY DISCUSSED. 23 

" I suppose good can work in secret as well as evil," 
said Mark. " Indeed, I asked Elder Gushing this very 
question and he reasoned something like this: that the 
mysteries of Masonry, like the mysteries of religion, 
were too sacred to be openly exposed to the gaze of the 
common and profane, who would not be benefited 
thereby, and for whom such things would only make 
sport. Even the white stone and the new name were 
secret symbols used in heaven." 

" Well,'' said Rachel, turning upon him rather sharp- 
ly, " as nature made me a woman I suppose I am one 
of the common and profane in the eye of Masonry and 
Elder Gushing. How could he draw any such parallel? 
Religion opens the door freely to male and female, rich 
and poor, bond and free. I never did get any good out 
of our Elder's sermons and I am afraid I shall get less 
now. But that brings me round to the next point. 
Isn't it rather hard that women are excluded? Don't 
we need its moral and religious teachings as much as 
men do? Are we never placed in circumstances of 
trial or danger when the succor and help that } T OU say 
every Mason is bound to give his distressed brothers 
would be very grateful?" 

u But, Rachel," I said, u men vote and make the laws. 
Women are excluded from our legislative halls, but you 
don't complain of that. If our laws are made by only 
one sex they are framed in the interest of both, one as 
much as the other. And so, though women cannot be 
Masons, they get all the real benefits of the institution 
when their husbands and brothers join." 

My experience had not then shown me their false- 
ness. I was telling Rachel only what I actually be- 
lieved. 



24 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

She was silent a moment and then with a little laugh 
in which amusement seemed to blend with a suppressed 
doubtfulness, she turned to go into the house, only say- 
ing as she did so 

u I won't presume to dictate in a thing I know noth- 
ing about. I dare say it is all right. It must be if 
such a good man as your grandfather thinks it is. He 
is a better man than Elder Gushing a great deal." 

Rachel did not open her lips again on the subject 
and steadily evaded all efforts on my part to resume it. 




CHAPTER III. 

A MYSTERIOUS BOOK CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY. 

T WAS accordingly arranged that Mark 
Stedman and I should present ourselves 
as candidates for admission into the 
lodge, which was at that time one of the 
most flourishing institutions of our little 
village. Not only did the minister belong 
to it, but the senior deacon and many 
church members, to say nothing of others, 
who, though of that carnal world which, ac- 
cording to St. John, " lieth in wickedness," were yet 
pew owners, and in their way pillars of respectability 
and influence. 

The preaching of Elder Gushing was on this wise. 
He often gave us excellent moral homilies and some- 
times equally excellent resumes of Israelitish history, 
in which he lashed severely the sins of the chosen peo- 
ple and their countless backslidings into idolatry, from 
Aaron's golden calf down to the sun worshipers seen 
by Ezekiel in the temple. The young people mean- 
while, seated in the galleries, laughed and whispered, 
and wrote notes to each other, while their elders slept 
comfortably in the pews below. But into his sermons, 
Christ Jesus, the Hope of all nations, the Sin Bearer 
for a ruined world, if He entered at all, came only " as 
a wayfaring man who turneth aside for a night." 



26 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Under a preaching that had so little to say about the 
great Head, it must be owned that the church in 
Brownsville needed considerable propping up, and 
might well be congratulated that so efficient an '' ally " 
stood at her elbow; for the meeting house and the 
lodge, as if to symbolize their friendly relations were 
only separated by the main street of the village, and 
stood not a stone's throw apart. 

Perhaps the meekest sheep would have its thoughts 
if the shepherd persisted in feeding it on thistle; and 
I cannot blame Rachel if in her young uncharitable- 
ness, craving for spiritual food that should satisfy a 
hungered soul, hardly knoAving herself what she want- 
ed, only knowing that she never got it, she often said 
sharp things of Elder Gushing. 

My initiation into the lodge preceded Mark's by his 
own desire. As for me I was quite willing to take the 
entering step first and alone, and was only amused at 
Mark's request. " Of course so many good men would 
never join it if it wasn't all it claims to be," he said, 
apologetically, making use of that time-honored argu- 
ment, which I believe has, at one period or another, 
buttressed up every evil thing under the sun. u But 
the thought troubled me of assuming solemn obliga- 
tions whose nature I can know nothing about before- 
hand. It really makes me tremble. Supposing I 
couldn't conscientiously take them?" 

u Don't distress yourself, old fellow," I returned care- 
lessly. " Your conscience is just like a new shoe 
always pinching. When IVe crossed the Rubicon 
you'll pluck up some courage, I hope." 

And poor Mark, meeting with no sympathetic under- 
standing of his peculiar difficulties, either from Rachel 



A MYSTERIOUS BOOK CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY. 27 

or me for she would not be drawn into another dis- 
cussion of the subject by the most artfully framed 
attempt to throw her off her guard betook hinrself to 
the barn, where a dozen gentle-eyed nioolies, his special 
pride and care, stood ready for milking. Not a creature 
on the farm but would come at Mark's call. And in 
their dumb trust and confidence I have no doubt he 
found some comfort, if nothing else. They, at least, 
never misunderstood him. 

I must state here that my younger brother, Joe, had 
been improving his leisure time for several days in 
poring over an old book which he generally contrived 
to shuffle out of sight when anybody approached. 1 
thought it beneath my dignity to be unduly curious in 
Joe's affairs, but one night the important one of my 
initiation into the lodge seeing him occupied in his 
usual manner, I inquired, as I consulted the glass and 
ran my lingers through my hair several times to be 
sure I was all right, what book he had there. 

" Maybe I'll lend it to you when I'm done with it," 
was Joe's evasive answer. 

When I turned round Joe was innocently paring an 
apple, but the book was gone: a faculty of suddenly 
and completely disappearing, as if the earth had opened 
and swallowed it up seeming to be one of the most re- 
markable properties of the volume. 

"I dare say it is some foolish dream book. If it is, 
Joe, you'd better throw it into the tire and not be 
spending precious time in this way." 

" It ain't a dream book," said the indignant Joe, in 
response to this brotherly counsel. " It's a Bible story, 
now; ain't it, Sam?" 

The person appealed to nodded his head and blinked 



ZO HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

one eye alternately at Joe and rue like a quizzical owl, 
but made no other reply. 

Sam, by the way, was a kind of village " ne'er do 
weel"who only worked when he felt like it; and as 
his feelings in this respect were about as little to be 
depended on as the weather, his services were not in 
much demand among the farmers round, except at par- 
ticular seasons of the year when help was scarce. But 
my grandfather, in the kindness of his heart, often 
hired Sam Toller when nobody else would; and thus 
Joe, who rather took to the shiftless, kindly fellow, had 
as much of his society as he liked. 

" Going now, Leander?" asked Joe, as my hand was 
on the latch. 

u Yes ; its about time. Why ?" 

"Oh, nothing. Only take care you don't get too much 
light. 'Taint healthy. It blinds folks sometimes. 1 ' 

As this enigmatical advice was only a specimen of 
many mysterious hints dropped by Joe, I paid no atten- 
tion to it, though after closing the door I was very cer- 
tain I heard a smothered guffaw from Sam. 

My first view of the lodge room was not calculated 
to impress me with any undue sense of solemnity. Our 
meeting house, bare, homely, barnlike structure though 
it was, I never entered without feeling in some dim 
way that there was a wide difference between it and 
all secular places. Here tobacco juice defiled the floor, 
while the atmosphere was unmistakably pervaded with 
a strong smell of Old Bourbon. But as this was before 
the era of the temperance reform, when even ministers 
drank their daily glass (or more) as a matter of course, 
it is to be hoped the reader will conceive no unreason^ 
able prejudice. 



A MYSTERIOUS BOOK CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY. 29 

Except as regarded the obligation to secrecy, which 
I naturally thought must imply a secret of some im- 
portance to keep else why the obligation? and the 
equally natural idea that the ceremonies of initiation 
into an order coeval r with the building of Solomon 6 s 
temple must be conducted with at least some degree of 
corresponding dignity, I had not the dimmest guess of 
what was to follow. 

To the question whether " unbiased by friends, un- 
influenced by worldly motives, I freely and voluntarily 
offered myself a candidate for the mysteries of Mason- 
ry," I gave, though rather falteringly, the expected 
affirmative. Had I not been strongly u biased " by my 
grandfather's wishes? and had not Mark Stedman told 
me that my motives in entering were altogether un- 
worthy? Though I had none of Mark's religiousness, 
1 had been brought up in good old Puritan fashion, 
and a double falsehood right on the very threshold of 
my Masonic career did not look to me like a promising 
beginning. 

I am an old man now, but I blush to-day at the 
thought of a half-nude, blindfolded figure/ with a rope 
around his neck waiting for the lodge door to be opened 
to " a poor blind candidate 1 '' poor and blind enough. 

NOTE 6. "There he stands without our portals, on the threshold of this new 
Masonic life, in darkness, helplessness and ignorance. Having been wandering 
amid the errors and covered over with the pollutions of the outer and profane 
world, he comes inquiringly to our doors seeking the new birth and asking a 
withdrawal of the veil which conceals divine truth from his uninitiated si^ht. 
* There is to be not simply a change for the future but also an extinction 
of the past, for initiation is as it were a death to the world and a resurrection to 
a new life." Mackey's Ritualist, pages 22-23. 

NOTE 7. " PREPARATION. There is much analogy between the preparation of 
the candidate in Masonry and the preparation for entering the Temple as prac- 
ticed among the ancient Israelites. The Talmudical treatise entitled ' ' Beracoth " 
prescribes the regulations in these words: ' No man shall enter into the Lord's 
house with his staff [an offensive weapon] nor with his outer garment, nor with 
his shoes on his feet, nor with money in his purse." Mackey's Ritualist, page 
42, Art. Preparation. 



30 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

% 

Heaven knows ! " who had long been desirous of re- 
ceiving and having a part of the rights and benefits of 
this worshipful lodge, dedicated to God, and held forth 
to the holy order of St. John, as all true fellows and 
brothers have done who have gone this way before him/' 

Of course the Masonic reader is privileged to skip 
these details. They are only intended for the " common 
and profane " outsider to borrow Elder Cushing's 
phrase, so highly resented by Rachel; and as they are 
not pleasant to me in the retrospect, T may be excused 
for wanting to abridge them as far as is consistent with 
a graphic account. 

Suffice it to say, that after answering in an equally 
foolish manner a varietj^ of foolish questions or rather 
having them answered for me, I was made to kneel in 
front of the altar with my left hand under the open 
Bible, and my right on the square and compass, there 
to take the oath, with the customary assurance that it 
"would not affect my religion or my politics." 

Up to this time I had been simply dazed and con- 
founded. The wide difference between my imaginings 
and the reality had almost roused in me the indignant 
suspicion that instead of being regularly initiated I was 
being made the victim of a practical joke. Now the 
real thing was to come; and comforted by thinking^ 
that the Ultima Thule for which I had embarked on 
the unknown sea of Masonry was at last in plain sight, 
I went through the first part calmly and steadily. 

" I, Leander Severns, of my own free will and accord, 
in presence of Almighty God and this Worshipful 
Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, dedicated to God, 
and held forth to the holy order of St. John, do hereby 
and hereon most sincerely promise and swear that I will 



A MYSTERIOUS BOOK CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY. 31 

always hail, ever conceal and never reveal any part or 
parts, art or arts, point or points of the secret art and 
mysteries of Ancient Freemasonry which I have re- 
ceived, am about to receive, or may hereafter be 
instructed in, to any person or persons in the known 
world, except it be to a true and lawful brother Mason, 
or within the body of a just and lawfully constituted 
lodge of such; and not unto him or unto them whom 
I shall hear so to be, but unto him and them only whom 
I shail find so to be after strict trial and due examina- 
tion or lawful information. 

" Furthermore I promise and swear that I will not 
write, print, stamp, stain, hew, cut, carve, indent, paint 
or engrave it on anything movable or immovable, under 
the whole canopy of heaven, whereby or whereon the 
least letter, figure, character, mark, stain, shadow or 
resemblance of the same may become legible or in- 
telligible to myself or any other person in the known 
world, whereby the secrets 8 of Masonry may be unlaw- 
fully obtained through my unworthiness." 

But when I came to the closing part: " To 'all of 
which I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and 
swear, without the least equivocation, mental reserva- 
tion, or self-evasion of mind in me whatever, binding 
myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut 
across, my tongue torn out by the roots and my body 
buried in the rough sands of the sea at loiv water mark. 
where the tide ebbs and flows twice in tiventij-four hours; 
so help me God, and keep me steadfast in the due per- 
formance of the same" I stopped short in horror and 
dismay. 



. "The importance of Secret -keeping is made the ground-work of all 
Masonic degrees. Morris's Dictionary, Art. Secret-Breaking . 



3 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Bind myself under penalties so horrible? Never. 
Not for the secret of the philosopher's stone. 

Shocked and horrified I was going to refuse decidedly 
to go on, when a thought of my absurd condition, 
kneeling there blindfolded, haltered, with only a shirt 
and a pair of drawers, the former with the front folded 
back, one leg and one arm bare, one shoe off and one 
shoe on, to vary slightly the classic rhyme of " my son 
John," rushed upon me with a horrible sense of the 
ludicrous. And aftar that one moment's hesitation I 
swallowed my scruples and took God forgive me! the 
Entered Apprentice oath. 

Then came, in Masonic phrase, the " Shock of En- 
lightenment," 9 by which I was curiously reminded, as I 
had been several times before, in the course of the cer- 
emonies, of Joe's mysterious hints. I heard the Wor- 
shipful Master repeat that passage which stands on the 
threshold of Holy Writ, alone in its majesty, like a 
sublime archangel, set to guard the portals of eternal 
truth, "And God said, Let there be light, and there was 
light." I heard a confused uproar all around me like 
Pandemonium let loose. The bandage fell from my 
eyes, and giddy and faint I staggered to my feet to 
listen to a short semi-moral, semi-religious, semi- 
mystical address from the Worshipful Master, receive 
my lambskin apron, and be presented with the three 
Masonic jewels, u a listening ear, a silent tongue, and 
a faithful heart," which though not used inexactly the 



NOTE 9. " In Masonry by the Shock of Enlightenment we sect humbly, in- 
deed, and at an inconceivable distance, to preserve the recollection and to em- 
body the idea of the birth of material light by the representation of the circum- 
stances that accompanied It, and their reference to the birth of Intellectual or 
Masonic light. The one is the type of the other, and hence the illumination a' 
the candidate is attended with a cer< mony that may be supposed to imitate ^he 
primal illumination of the universe. " Mickey's Ritualist, page 34. 



A MYSTERIOUS BOOK CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY. 33 

manner intended, I have had considerable occasion for 
since, as subsequent chapters will show. 

It was all over. I was a regular Entered Apprentice 
in a lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. 

I went home " clothed/' but not in my u right mind." 
My senses were in a whirl and my head ached terribly, 
which was no matter for special wonder considering the 
fact that in our lodge, as in most others at that time, 
u refreshment" 10 had followed very close on "labor," 
and contrary to my usual habit I had taken more than 
was good for me. 

As I felt in no mood to encounter the rasp of Joe's 
tongue, I was much relieved Jo find him in bed and 
asleep. But his evident inkling into lodge room mat- 
ters was a puzzle. With the resolve that on the mor- 
row I would get Joe's secret out of him if bribes or 
threats could do it, I crept silently into bed, not desir- 
ing to waken Joe if I could help it, and went to sleep 
like " one of the wicked," without saying my prayers. 

NOTB 10. "By the term ''refreshment' is symbolically Implied the social 
hour at high xli. , when the members of the lodge are placed under charge of the 
Junior Warden, who is strictly enjoined to see that thov do not convert the pur- 
poses of refreshment into Intemperance and excess. "Morris's Dictionary, Art. 
Refreshment. 








CHAPTER IV. 

A TALK WITH MY GRANDFATHER. 

CALM review of the whole subject next 
morning only confirmed me in my won- 
dering bewilderment. If this was Free- 
masonry, great indeed were its mysteries ; 
and feeling that my unassisted faculties 
were quite powerless to comprehend them, 
1 concluded to have a talk with my grand- 
father, as being the only person near me eligi- 
ble to such communications. For even now I 
began to feel the galling bond 11 of lodge slavery. I 
could not tell my perplexities to Mark Stedrnan, my 
bosom friend from boyhood, and though in his case the 
embargo on our free speech was likely soon to be 
removed, between Rachel and me how was it? How 
must it be in the years to come, when we should sit by 
our own hearthstone ? Freedom to talk on every other 
subject, but as regarded this, a black, bottomless gulf 
of silence, which one of us could not cross, and the 
other dared not. 

I did not want to start the conversation, and fidgeted 
about some time, hoping my grandfather would begin. 

NOTE 11. " That this surrender of free-will to Masonic authority is absolute, 
(within the scope of the landmarks of the order) and perpetual, may be inferred 
from an examination of the emblem (the shoe or sa-idal) which is used to en- 
force this lesson of resignation. 1 ' Morris's Dictionary. Art. Authority. 



A TALK WITH MY GRANDFATHER. 35 

I must stop to state that, owing to his age and infirm- 
ities he had not for some years attended any meetings 
of the lodge. 

" Well, Leander," he said at last, pushing his specta- 
cles back over his forehead, " when are you intending 
to take the other degrees?' 7 

" I don't believe I shall ever take them at all." 

My grandfather pushed his spectacles farther back 
and looked at me with mild surprise. 

"That won't do, Leander. To get the full benefits 
of joining the order you ought certainly to become a 
Master Mason. That's far enough;* as far as I ever 
went myself. I don't think much of these higher de- 
grees they are perpetually tacking on nowadays. They 
are what Papist ceremonies are to religion ; innovations 
that can only work mischief. These new-fangled, up- 
start degrees are invented to tickle shallow minds. 
They are like mitres, and red hats, and triple crowns, 
just made to puff up human vanity, nothing else under 
the sun. Masonry, pure and simple, is a divine 11 insti- 
tution, and doesn't need any of this artificial bolstering 
up." 

' k To tell the truth, grandfather," said I, waiving a 
branch of the subject in which I did not feel interested, 
" I am disappointed in the whole thing. It isn't what 
I thought it was. I don't understand it." 

kt Of course you don't," answered my grandfather, 
placidly. " It isn't intended to be understood at first. 
Knowledge must corne by degrees. I never met with a 

NOTE 12. " All the ceremonies of our order arc prefaced and terminated with 
prayer because Masonry If) a religious Institution and because we thereby show 
iv- r dependence on, and our faith and trust In, G-od." -Mackey's Lexicon, Art. 
Prayer. 



36 . HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

man yet who understood the first chapter of Genesis." 

" But," said I, making a desperate rush to the real 
point, u I don't like the way in which the oath is put, 
and don't quite like the idea of taking an oath at all; 
but if I could take it as in a court of justice, erect, with 
my eyes open like a man, and none of those horrible 
penalties at the end, I should make no objections to it." 

"You feel something as I did, Leander," was my 
grandfather's unexpected reply. '" There are things in 
Masonry that I never could understand even to this 
day, that I never could bring myself to quite like. But 
we must remember that it is a very ancient 13 institution, 
founded in very different times from these, so naturally 
there would be things about it that don't accord with 
our ideas now. Why, I find it just so with the Bible, 
Leander. There are things in the Old Testament that 
I never could quite reconcile in my own mind with the 
New: the wars of the Jews, for example, and David's 
praying for vengeance on his enemies. But then I 
don't give up my Bible. I know it is all right, and 
that is enough for me. And just so with Masonry; I 
take what I do understand, and let the rest go." 

Oh, my dear grandfather! was there ever a simpler, 
truer soul than thine caught in the coils of " the hand- 
maid?" 

I felt my objections unconsciously melting before 
such simplicity, such kindness and candor, as snow 

NOTE 13. " From the commencement of the world we may trace the founda- 
tion of Masonry. Ever since symmetry began and harmony displayed her 
charms our order has had a being. " WeWs\Monitor^ page 1 ; Sickels's Ahiman 
Rezon, page 14; Sickel^s Masonic Monitor, page 9. 'A belief In the Antiquity 
of Masonry Is the first requisite of a good teacher. Upon this all the legends of 
the order are based. The dignity of the Institution depends mainly upon its age, 
and to disguise its gray hairs is to expose it to a contemptuous comparison with 
every society of modern date." flote by Robert Morris, page 1, Webb's Mon- 
itor. 



A TALK WITH MY GRANDFATHER. 37 

melts under a spring sun. After all, could there be 
inherent evil in Masonry when such a man as he. up- 
right, benevolent, doing his duty to God and his 
neighbor, so far as he knew it, saw none ? If the read- 
er is tempted to ask the same question, let me in return 
put to him another: In the days when human slavery 
lay like a pall over our land, were there no apologists 
for the terrible system, as kind, as candid, as Christian 
as was my grandfather? 

Joe, contrary to my expectations, had not tried to 
annoy me with any of his mysterious inuendoes; and, 
acting on the wise old adage, to let "sleeping dogs 
alone," I concluded that it would be best on the whole 
to let him enjoy his secret unmolested. That he had 
overheard the talk of some careless Masons who had 
neglected to " tyle " their doors properly against 
"cowans and eavesdroppers " seemed the most probable 
way of explaining it; and, truth to tell, I shrank from 
a contest with Joe in which I was very likely to come 
off second best. 

I was much more troubled to think what I should 
say to Mark, especially as I saw him just then crossing 
the fields, and knew that though he had come ostensi- 
bly on some errand of the farm, his real object was to 
have a talk with me. And so it proved. 

u Mother wants to know if Uncle Severns has got a 
setting hen he'd like to part with. One that she put 
some eggs under the other day is flighty, and keeps 
leaving her nest." 

We went out to the barn together and a hen of the 
desired proclivities being duly selected, Mark, holding 
his captive fast, turned to me with an expectant 
"Well?" 




CHAPTER V. 

PREPARATION FOR A JOURNEY. u PASSED AND RAISED/' 

HAT do you want me to tell you?" I 
asked. 

"None of the secrets, of course; but 
I thought you might give me some gen- 
eral idea of the nature of the obligations 
without disclosing anything." 

" That's exactly what I can't do," I an- 
swered, promptly. " The obligations 14 them- 
selves are a part of the secret. 11 
Mark's countenance fell perceptibly. He stood still 
for a moment, softly stroking the brown feathers of 
the hen, which gently pecked at his hand and gave 
sundry low, pleased cackles in response to his rather 
abstracted caresses. Then with a sudden brightening 
of his face he looked up and said: 

11 Anyhow, you can tell me one thing. Are you glad 
or sorry you have joined the lodge?" 

He had put the test question. I might nave shirKed 
it by some cowardly evasion, but I thank God him 
alone, for it was no courage of mine that I never 
thought of doing so. 

u Mark. 1 ' I answered, " when a thing is done and 
there is no going back, regrets are not of much use. 
But I want to tell you now that Masonry is not in the 
least what I thought it was, and when you come to find 

NOTE 14. " It Is the obligation which makes the Mason. ''Morris 11 Diction- 
ary. Art. Obligation. 



"PASSED AND RAISED/' 39 

out what it really is you will be more disappointed than 
J am, because you expected more. And this is about 
all I am able to tell you." 

"But then/' said Mark, after an instant's thought, 
" you must remember that you have only taken the 
first degree; perhaps that is the reason it disappoints 
you. If we judged everything by its beginning our 
judgments would be very partial and biased, and lead 
us to utterly wrong conclusions in the majority of 
cases." 

Though the more I thought about it the more re- 
pugnant grew the idea of letting Mark, with his 
nervous system as finely toned and delicate as a 
woman's, enter the lodge without any notion of the 
ordeal he must pass through. How could I utter a 
syllable to warn him ; with the iron grip of .that terri- 
ble vow binding me to perpetual silence? And what 
added to my perplexity, I did not feel prepared, since 
that talk with my grandfather, to call the system evil, 
and entirely evil. I had only taken the first degree, as 
Mark said, and it was not impossible that by going 
farther and deeper into it I might find my previous 
Impressions entirely altered; for I felt much as Rachel 
did, that my grandfather, though an untaught layman 
who had followed the seas most of his life, in his sim- 
ple-hearted goodness actually stood on a far higher 
level of Christian attainment than our formal and per- 
functory Elder. 

Let the reader bear in mind that at this period Ma- 
sonry was a power that, according to one of its own 
orators, " stood behind the sacred desk, sat in the chair 
of justice, and exercised its controlling influence in 
executive halls." a factor of unknown quantities that 



40 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

entered more or less into every problem of the day, 
social or political, and he will understand one reason 
why it was so seldom denounced as a moral evil. True, 
some exceptionally bold spirit here and there had the 
courage to protest, but his witness generally fell power- 
less between the horns of two opposing dilemmas; for 
either he was or was not a member of the lodge, obliged 
in the one case to withhold his real reasons for de- 
nouncing it, because those reasons were themselves a 
very important part of the secrets his oath required 
him to keep; or, on the other hand, forced to base his 
opinions of the system almost wholly on the little he 
could see of its outside workings. 

While I was thinking what to say to Mark, Joe's in- 
separable companion, Sport, a brown and white puppy 
of no species in particular, ran in and began to smell 
frantically about the floor, then giving one joyons yelp 
and bark dashed into a corner behind me, and tearing 
away the hay, disclosed Joe himself in his retreat, 
which, to do him justice, he had chosen for purposes of 
privacy rather than eavesdropping. For among other 
inconvenient traits incident to his age and disposition, 
he had a habit of shirking any irksome or unsavory 
task about the farm by absenting himself in the man- 
ner above described. And thus he had overheard all 
our conversation. 

I regret to say that I immediately collared Joe with 
the intent to give him a shaking, but as Mark, who 
had much the same liking for him that he might have 
felt for a mischievous monkey, good-naturedly inter- 
posed in his behalf, I finally released the young gentle- 
man, after darkly promising that u he would catch it 
another time." 



''PASSED AXD RAISED." 41 

Mark went off with his hen under his arm, perplexed, 
curious and dissatisfied. I must confess that it was a 
relief to me to have our conversation broken off. At 
the same time it was plainly evident that I could not 
guard my Masonic jewels any too carefully from the 
unscrupulous Joe. 

At that moment Sam Toller, pitchfork in hand, 
looked in at the barn door. 

" Yer gran'ther wants ye, Leander, right off." 
" Do you know what for, Sam?" I asked, rather sur- 
prised at this sudden summons. 

u Wall, I couldn't say for sartin. May be he's got 
some news to tell you. He kinder looked as though he 
had. And, come to think on't, I saw the postman 
leave suthin' about an hour ago." 

Sam's Yankee faculty for guessing, and generally 
guessing right, whether it concerned the weather, or 
the crops, or human doings in general, was seldom at 
fault. It was not in the present instance. 

MJ T grandfather held a certain land claim in western 
Pennsylvania, and the important news was this: There 
was now an opportunity for selling the land at a great 
advance on the original price, so great indeed as almost 
to make our fortune, as fortunes went in those primi- 
tive times. Furthermore, as doing business by corre- 
spondence was slow, troublesome and unsafe, our 
present perfect mail system being then in embryo, and 
as there were also sharpers in the land in those days, 
human nature being much the same in 1825 that it is 
in 1882, it seemed highly necessary that some member 
of the family should go in person to negotiate the sale. 
My grandfather adjusted his spectacles at exactly the 
right angle, and gave the letter one more careful and 



42 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

deliberate reading. Then he folded it up and turned 
to me. 

"Yott must be the one to attend to this business, 
Leander; I see no other way. I've always calculated 
on giving you and Rachel something to start with 
when you are married, instead of leaving it all to you 
in my will, and this'll come very handy now. It's 
something of a responsibility, I know, to put on young 
shoulders, and if you were like Mark Stedman, with 
your mind in the clouds half the time, I shouldn't feel 
easy to trust you. Not but what Mark is as good a 
fellow as ever breathed, and knows enough to be a 
minister, only when it comes to doing business it needs 
a level head." 

My grandfather's decision was ratified in a solemn 
family council held at dinner, when the subject was 
discussed in all its phases and bearings, the only oppos- 
ing voice being my gentle widowed mother's, who saw 
only danger and death for me in the enterprise. 

"0, I can't let Leander go!" she cried. " He will 
certainly be killed by the Indians." 

" Poh !" said my grandfather. u What are you think- 
ing of, Belinda? There are no Indians about there now. 
He will be in a sight more danger from painters and rat- 
tlesnakes. Not that / ever saw rattlesnakes anywhere 
else as thick as I've seen 'em right here in this very 
township. Why, I remember when we first came here 
a party of us went out and killed twenty in one after- 
noon." 

Whereupon Sam Toller for in true democratic 
fashion master and servant eat at one table proceeded 
to match this story with another which I will not mar 
by trying to repeat. Sam was renowned far and near 



"PASSED AND RAISED." 43 

for his snake stories." While nobody could relate 
tougher ones, he had the true artist instinct, and knew 
just how to mingle fact and fiction so nicely that it was 
impossible to tell where the one began and the other 
left off. Even my grandfather listened with indulgent 
interest, but my mother gave rather absent attention, 
and as soon as Sam finished started a fresh cause for 
alarm. 

u There are worse things than painters or rattle- 
snakes. What if he should be robbed and murdered 
coming home?" 

u Belinda," and my grandfather spoke gravely and 
solemnly, " this business has got to be attended to. I 
hate to have Leander go, but there seems to be no other 
way to do. He is the staff of my old age, but there is 
One in whose keeping I can safely trust him." 

And Miss Nabby Loker, my mother's prime minister 
in all domestic affairs, and despotic, as prime ministers 
are apt to be, put in her word of consolation. 

" After all, Mrs. Severns, I wouldn't worry. If 
anybody is foreordained to be killed, staying at home 
won't help it any, and if they are foreordained to die a 
natural death, why, it'll be so even if they go to the 
world's ends. There's a sight o' comfort now in that 
doctrine. I wonder folks don't see it more. It makes 
you feel so easy 'like to know that everything is all 
decreed beforehand." 

As my grandfather leaned towards Methodism, his 
ideas of free grace and Miss Loker's rigid Calvinistic 
interpretation of the Divine decrees often came in con- 
flict; but now he offered no word, either of contradic- 
tion or comment, but sat with his gray head bowed in 
silent reverie: possibly prayer. It may have occurred 



44 fiOLDEH WITH CORDS. 

to liiin that even so stern and forbidding a doctrine 
might be a refuge to the troubled soul in hours like this. 
There are times when it is good to feel that underneath 
God's love and tenderness is an infinite knowledge, em- 
bracing all our future life, our down-sittings and up- 
risings from the cradle to the grave, and even beyond 
into that dim eternity which bounds all mortal vision. 

Rachel took the news very quietly. Like all self- 
contained natures her feelings showed very little on the 
surface. 

" It is your duty to go, Leander, and that settles it. 
I am sorry your poor mother feels so worried. She ex- 
aggerates the dangers. I have no doubt you will come 
home all safe and quite a hero/' 

"And then?" 

I looked up at Rachel questioningly. She under- 
stood me, for a little wave of color rushed over cheek 
and brow. But there was not a shade of coquetry 
about Rachel. In her sweet, pure nature there was no 
room for such a thing. 

" As soon as you get home, Leander;" she quietly 
answered. 

And so our wedding day was fixed. It was to be the 
sixteenth of September Rachel's birthday. 

Sam Toller duly spread abroad the tidings of my pro- 
jected journey, in which the whole village took a de- 
cided interest not at all strange under the circumstances. 

As my grandfather was liked by every man, woman 
and child and I might safely add the very dogs in 
Brownsville everj^body was full of good wishes and 
kindly advisings, given in the hearty, neighborly fash- 
ion of rural communities, where the weal and woe of 
the individual is considered part and parcel of the whole. 



45 

Among others who came in to talk over the impor- 
tant matter was Deacon Brown, a man of much influ- 
ence, both in the church and out of it. Not only was 
our village named for him, and its every post of trust 
and honor filled by him at various times, but he had 
been twice elected to the State Legislature. 

Being an enthusiastic Mason himself, when the talk 
turned, as it naturally did, on the length and possible 
perils of the journey, he at once adverted to my having 
lately joined the fraternity as a particularly good thing 
at this juncture. 

" Only he ought to take the two upper degrees be- 
fore he starts; decidedly, he ought to." 

" You are quite right, Deacon," answered my grand- 
father: "I have told him myself that to get the full 
benefits of belonging to the order he must go as high 
as the Master Mason's 15 degree. You must urge it on 
him. The words of a man like you, now. might have 
a good deal of influence with him." 

The Deacon was used to such gentle, unconscious 
flattery from his. townsmen and turned to me with a 
fatherly smile. 

kt You must listen to your grandfather, Leander. You 
are not at liberty to neglect such an important duty; 
such a shield against all manner of unknown perils. 
You owe something to your friends if you don't to 
yourself. Why, nobody knows or ever can know how 
many lives Masonry has saved," he added, waxing en- 
thusiastic over his pet institution. u IVe heard of even 
pirates and highway robbers that respected the Masonic 
sign and, when it was given, treated those they had 
been laying out to rob and murder like brothers. But 
I don't mean," explained the worthy Deacon with :i 

NOTE 15. "Entered Apprentices are possessed of very few rights, * * 
arc not permitted to speak or vote or hold anv office ; secrecy and obedience are 
tlie only obligations imposed upon them. " Mackey's Jurisprudence, p. 159. 



46 HOLDER WITH COBDS. 

sudden remembrance of the possible interpretation 
which un-Masonic ears might put upon this statement, 
" that a lodge would ever take in such characters, 
knowingly. Even the church cannot always keep out 
unworthy members, so I have no doubt some have 
joined the Masons who became robbers and pirates 
afterwards, and yet had enough of conscience left not 
to dare violate their oath." 

Remembering the awful nature of that oath, as it had 
been imposed on me, I found no difficulty in believing 
that it might have acted as a restraint on Captain Kidd 
himself, had that worthy ever joined the fraternity, of 
which I was doubtful. 

As the highest Masonic authority gravely holds out, 
among the various inducements of the order, its power 
"to introduce you to the fellowship of pirates, corsairs 
and other marauders," let not the innocent-minded 
reader conceive any ill opinion of Deacon Brown for 
doing the same thing; nor think it strange that, urged 
by him and entreated by my grandfather, who was not 
quite willing to leave his favorite grandson to the shield 
of Omnipotence alone, I consented to take the upper 
degrees and was duly " passed and raised " to the Sub- 
lime Degree of a Master Mason, with all the privileges 
appertaining thereunto among them that of consort- 
ing on brotherly terms with " the pirates and corsairs " 
aforesaid. 




CHAPTER VI. 

.N EVENING WITH KACHEL.. 

WAS going to take the journey on 
horseback; and Major, a fine, fleet, 
spirited animal raised on the farm, was 
the one selected by my grandfather as 
best fitted in qualities of speed and en- 
durance to bear me successfully on the ex- 
pedition. 

They all gathered round to say " Good-bye," 
and see me off the dear home faces transfig- 
ured with the love and tenderness of parting. Even 
Joe, though he had so often been an aggravating thorn 
in the side of his more sedate elder brother, now looked 
almost manly in his new gravity and soberness. So 
much so that I bent down and whispered to him, as he 
stood giving Major a farewell pat: 

u Dear Joe, I hope I shall come back all safe, but if I 
don't if anything happens to me take good care of 
our mother and grandfather. Don't let them want for 
anything, but be their pnop and stay instead of me." 

" Oh, Leander, don't talk in that way!" sobbed Joe, 
who was as warm-hearted as he was provoking. " I 
want to tell you now before you go off, I'm real sorry 
for all the mean, aggravating tricks I've played off on 
you, and 1 want you to forgive me/' 

Forgive Joe! Yes, until seventy times seven! Nor 



48 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

was it any check on the freeness and fullness of my 
forgiveness that I knew very well Joe's repentance 
would last as long as my absence by the calendar, and 
not a day longer. 

I had bid good-bye to Rachel the night before. What 
we said I will not write here, for I am afraid the reader 
will not be interested in our lover's plannings for the 
future, or all the little things as important to us as the 
bits of straw to nest-building birds, which, with provi- 
dent New England forecast, Rachel was already be- 
ginning to gather together in reference to our future 
home, and now showed me with a pretty pride in her 
own economy and thrift. There was an old arm chair 
that she had stuffed and covered with her own fingers, 
till it was the perfection of coziness and comfort; a 
stand bought at a bargain, which would be just right 
to hold the family Bible; and such stores of linen 
table cloths and towels of her own weaving, wonderful 
to behold in their exquisite fineness and whiteness. 

Yes, Rachel and I loved each other with that pure, 
honest love, which I am afraid is not as common now 
as it ought to be, but which, whenever I see it, makes 
me feel as if a flower from Eden had suddenly blossomed 
in my path. Yet Eden had its serpent. 

There was one subject avoided by both of us with a 
kind of instinct. I had advanced to the third degree 
in Masonry only to find my rst experience repeated; 
to be disappointed and astonished at the infinitessimal 
smallness of the secrets revealed, and bewildered with 
the 'general mixture of solemnity and puerility which 
characterized the ceremonies. But I had come to the 
conclusion that so long as I was fairly in, with no pros- 
pect of getting out, I would make the best of it by 



AH EVENING WITH RACHEL. 49 

reaping all the advantages I possibly could from my 
connection with the order. My self-satisfaction, how- 
ever, was much disturbed by Rachel's negative disap- 
proval, which I felt, like a kind of Mordecai in the 
gates, that would neither bow down nor do homage. 

" You must see, Rachel," I said, with the hope of 
getting her to say something favorable, " that my join- 
ing the Masons is a very good thing now. I may be 
placed in circumstances where I shall need assistance 
that no mere stranger, uninfluenced by any such tie, 
would be likely to render." 

Rachel took a moment to consider, and then, instead 
of giving me any direct answer, turned around with the 
rather startling inquiry: 

u Do you suppose the Good Samaritan was a Free- 
mason?" 

" What an idea, Rachel! 1 ' 

"I don't see anything so very strange about it. 
Didn't Elder Gushing tell us when Uncle Jerry died, 
and had that great Masonic funeral, that Masonry was 
many hundred years older than the time of Christ? 
Didn't he tell us that John the Baptist and ever so 
many others, way back to Hiram and Solomon, were 
Masons? So the Good Samaritan might easily have 
been one, only I am certain he wasn't." 

u Why not?" I inquired, curious to see by what style 
of reasoning she would prove her point. 

u just because our Savior holds him up as an ex- 
ample of the purest benevolence for all mankind to 
imitate, which he certainly never would have done had 
there been any tie between the Samaritan and that 
poor wounded Jew, other than just their common hu- 
manity; for then it would not have been benevolence, 



50 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

but a mere sense of honor or duty, or some such thing, 
quite different from charity. Don't you see?" 

I did see, and for the first time felt a little vexed at 
Rachel's clearsightedness. I had been rather fascinated, 
to tell the truth, with the brotherly love, so strongly 
inculcated among lodge duties, the only thing about 
Masonry, by the way, which had as yet very much 
commended itself to either my conscience or common 
sense. 

" It seems to me, Rachel, you are straying wide of the 
subject," I said, impatiently. " Why do you evade a 
plain question? I only asked if you did not think it a 
good thing under the present circumstances." 

" Oh, I dare say," answered Rachel, indifferently, as 
if she did not care to discuss the subject. And then 
she went and stood at the window a moment, silently 
gazing out at the starlit sky. 

A vein of mingled poetry and humor, bubbling up in 
'all manner of unexpected ways and places, gave to 
Rachel's character a sort of piquant charm. I think 
now she resembled as much as anything a New 
England huckleberry pasture, rich with every kind of 
wild, sweet, homely growth hardback and sweet fern 
and blackberry vines full of sharp little briars, all 
tangled in together. 

u Now, Leander," she sa.id, suddenly pointing up to 
the sky, " 1 am going to give you something to remem- 
ber me by. I shall choose a star and call it mine, and 
whenever you see it shine out you must think, ; That's 
Rachel's star. 1 But which shall it be?" And she 
stood in a pretty, reflective attitude, with upraised 
eyes, scanning the airy vault. Then she clapped her 
hands gleefully. 



AX EVENING WITH RACAEL. 51 

"There, I have it!" she exclaimed. ''Don't you rt- 
m ember when we were children, coming home from 
school hot and thirsty, we used to think the water at 
the Widow Slocum's was better than anywhere else, for 
no earthly reason than because she always gave it to 
us in a new tin dipper, so bright we could see our faces 
in it? Thinking of that has put it into my head what 
I will choose the constellation of the Dipper. It has 
such a housewifely, practical sound, too; just the thing." 

And Rachel laughed her sweet, low, musical laugh, 
in which, as I had now forgotten my momentary vexa- 
tion with her, I could not help joining. But she 
Suddenly sobered, and turned away from the window 
with eyes suspiciously bright in the star gleam. 

"Sometimes I have thought it wrong for me to pray," 
she said, "because I am not a Christian; but I shall 
pray that God will guard you from every danger, and 
I think he will hear me, though I am not 'a believer.' 
as they call it. But oh, I wish I was! I think I might 
be one if I had somebody to tell me how. I tried to 
talk with Elder Cushing once, but what he said to me 
might as well have been so much Hebrew. It was all 
about 'saving faith,' 'sanetification' and 'assurance,' and 
such things that I could not understand in the least, or 
see how I could eveT make them have any practical 
connection with my homely, actual, every-day life. I 
suppose, these things are really necessary before one can 
be a Christian, but they seem to me as far off and as 
hard to reach as the very stars shining up there. Of 
course, it is not really so, or else nobody could be a 
Christian. I suppose the fault is all in me that I 
might have them if I would. But it seems to me that 
I am willing, and all I want is to find somebody that 



52 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

knows how to begin low down, and teach me as they 
teach the primer to little children." 

While nothing in my own heart answered to Rachel's 
longings, I was touched by the pathos in her cry, and 
felt something like indignation at Elder Cushing's utter 
inability to help her. For what right had a man to 
stand where he did and yet have no word of heavenly 
counsel that a simple, honest soul like Rachel's could 
appropriate to her spiritual needs? When she asked 
for bread when, in the humility of her soul-hunger, 
she would have been glad of the very crumbs of Grospel 
truth why did he give her a stone? 

It is but fair to say that Elder Gushing had no direct, 
intention of thus mocking her needs; no thought of 
bringing down on himself the old prophet's terrible 
denunciation, "Woe to the idle shepherd that leaveth 
the flock." But did he never sorrow in secret over his 
fruitless, barren ministry? Was he satisfied that while 
the lodge grew and prospered the church received next 
to none into its fold? Did no thought cross his mind 
that, professed minister of Jesus Christ though he was, 
he served at a strange altar that he even took of its 
unhallowed fires, and in the very temple of Jehovah 
offered profane incense in praise of another God? 

I dare not say. 

Long years ago Elder Gushing went where mortal 
judgment has neither right nor the power to follow him; 
but let the "foolish shepherds" of a later day heed these 
woids of warning from another plain old prophet: 

Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I am against the 
shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hands. 




CHAPTER VII. 

A CERTAIN MAN WENT DOWN FROM JERICHO. 

HE parting fairly over, my spirits went 
up like the barometer before a clearing 
norVest wind. The going forth like 
the hero in a fairy tale to seek my for- 
tune had a pleasurable excitement that 
buoyed me up through the first part of the 
expedition, and made me insensible to most of 
the discomforts and fatigues which a journey of 
any length in those days almost necessarily involved. 

But I had never any difficulty in obtaining a night's 
shelter even when tavern accommodations failed me, as 
they often did in that new, sparsely settled country; 
for among the rough but kindly farmers, hospitality 
was the rule and its opposite the exception. Thus the 
first part of my journey was utterly devoid of those 
situations in which the Masonic rites and privileges 
with which I had been lately invested are peculiarly 
valuable; and a certain pride and self-respect, the re- 
sult of my New England birth and breeding, kept me 
from claiming them when there was no urgent call for 
so doing. 

Near the Ohio boundary I stopped at a cabin situated 
in the middle of a small clearing, but with no sign of 
any other human habitation near, to inquire my way v 
of which I felt doubtful.. Dogs, little and big, rushed 



54 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

out as I rode up, barking defiance in various keys, from 
the shrill yelp of the smaller curs to the deeper and 
more threatening bass of their leaders; but an old man 
sitting on a log outside, smoking his pipe, came forward 
and hospitably dispersed the dogs with an oath here 
and a kick there all but one, who seemed to be a 
privileged character, a cross between the bull and 
mastiff breed, and as surly as the captain of a regiment 
of Bashi-bazouks. 

The whole place was repulsive its owner no less so. 
Rum-soaked, tobacco-soaked, he was the very picture 
of a hoary-headed old sinner; I could not bear to look 
at him. 

" Fine beast, that o' yours,' 1 he said, admiringly, 
eying my horse, " but looks kinder jaded. Been far to 
day? 1 ' 

" Quite a piece," I said, feeling disposed to be laconic. 
" Can you tell me if I am on the right road to Lundy's 
Settlement? 11 

" Lundy's Settlement? Ye ain't reckonin 1 to git 
thar to-night?' 1 

I answered in the affirmative, feeling that I should 
infinitely prefer spending the night out of doors with 
Major tethered to a tree than accept his hospitality, 
which, however, he did not seem to offer. 

" I say, Matt, 11 he called out, stepping back and 
speaking to some one within the cabin. "Here's a 
man wants to go to Lundy's Settlement. You kin tell 
him about it I reckon." And in answer to this appeal 
u Matt " came out; but as our conversation was mingled 
on his part with profane expletives, many and various, 
I shall not record it here, only to say that it was ex- 
tremely unsatisfactory, for while possessing entire, 



A CERTAIN MAN WENT DOWN FROM JERICHO. 55 

knowledge of the whole local geography of that region, 
he ingeniously evaded giving me any direct information 
regarding the points on which. I most desired to be en- 
lightened. He was a younger man than the other 
young enough to be his son, and of equally sinister 
expression. Indeed the relationship between them was 
apparent at a glance. 

4 ' He kin git thar to-night, dad," said the worthy, 
finally, and tipping a sly wink in the old man's direc- 
tion as he spoke. " There's a way through the woods, 
only its kinder lonesome. Git out thar, you!" 

This side remark, I must explain, was not addressed 
to me, nor to the paternal relative, but to the canine 
Bashi-bazouk, who was smelling viciously about Major's 
BONES. B} T putting a few more questions I found that 
the " way through the woods " was a bridle path that 
would lead me out near the river, on the other side of 
which the settlement lay, and decided to take it without 
more ado. 

" Just follow the road you come on, straight along 
till you come to a blazed tree its a big butternut. 
Turn in thar and keep along till you come to the river,' 1 
was the gist of the directions given me as I rode away, 
which being* so plain and simple seemed hardly to 
admit of mistake, especially as I found without any 
difficulty the " blazed " tree which was to be my gui'de 
to Lundy's Settlement. 

Innocent readers of more civilized regions and times 
may need to be informed that the number of " blazes " 
on a tree that is, where the bark is chipped off also 
their peculiar position on the trunk, whether horizontal 
or perpendicular, formed a system of directions for the 
use of the traveller as important for him to understand 



56 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

as the language on the regular signboards in more 
civilized parts. 

For a while I trotted on in good spirits. But the 
woods grew denser, the shadows longer, and I halted 
and looked about me with a feeling of disheartening 
doubt. Could I have possibly mistaken the way? 

I was about to move on when the woods to one side 
of me crackled sharply. Several masked men sprang 
out, and before I could turn for defence or parley I re- 
ceived a violent blow on the head that knocked me 
senseless from the saddle. 

******* 

When I awoke to consciousness the stars were 
shining. At first I did not try to move but lay in a 
kind of stupor, feeling curiously indifferent to all that 
had happened. But as my senses slowly returned the 
whole terror of the situation rushed upon me like a 
great wave. The robbers had not only taken my faith- 
ful horse and my trusty pistol, but had also taken every 
cent of money I had about me. 

I tried to sit up but fell wearily back with a groan 
of pain, wondering if there was anything left for me 
to do but lay there, desolate and forsaken, in those wild, 
unknown woods till death found me. But suddenly 
my heart leaped with a new sense of hope. As I gazed 
btankly upward I could see shining down upon me, still 
and clear, the constellation of the Dipper Rachel's 
chosen sign. Rachel, bright, merry, housewifely 
Rachel! What was she doing now? Working some 
pretty knicknack for the happy home that perhaps 
would never be ours? drawing the needle in and out 
with bright visions of the future ? " Rachel, Rachel," 
I moaned; and then, echoing in my heart like an angel's 



A CERTAIN MAN WENT DOWN FROM JERICHO. 57 

voice, I hear again her tearful words said on the eve of 
our parting: "I shall pray that God will guard you 
from every danger, and I think he will hear me." 

I felt strangely comforted! The awful terror passed 
from me, and in its stead came a restful, soothed feeling 
almost like a child on its mother's breast. And the 
hours of the night wore on, and still I lay there 
watched over by Rachel's starry sign that paled as the 
dawn approached like a beautiful hope lost in its own 
fulfillment. 

The east grew pearly gray, then flushed to roseate. 
All about me was the stir of awakening life. I roused 
myself to one more effort, and found I could walk, 
though with great pain and difficulty, for among my 
other injuries I had suffered a dislocation of the ankle 
bone, which was the result of falling from my horse 
when the sudden attack of the ruffians felled me to the 
ground. 

As I limped groaningly along, being obliged to sit 
down and rest at such frequent intervals that I made 
small progress, the welcome sound of a distant gallop 
struck my ear. It was coming nearer, and 1 shouted, 
u Helloo!" with all the strength of voice I could 
muster. 

" Helloo!" was answered back, and in an instant the 
horseman had flung himself off and was listening to 
my tale in much wonder and indignation. He wore 
the common, rough, backwoodsman's dress, and his 
black hair and beard seemed totally unacquainted with 
razors or barber's shears; but he had very pleasant 
features, lit np by an expression of unconscious, almost 
childlike goodness, that I secretly felt to be rare, and 
was attracted to accordingly. 



58 HOLDER" WITH CORDS. 

"Confound the mean, horse-stealing rascals," he burst 
out at last. " I ain't swearing, stranger, though my 
woman would say I was. It must have been Dick 
Stover's where you stopped. I always suspected him 
and his sons of being in with that gang, bat never 
could get the proof. They directed you right the op- 
posite way from the settlement, and then gave infor- 
mation whereabouts to lay in wait for you as you rode 
along. I now sec it all as plain as a church 
steeple." 

I may as well stop to explain that I had suffered at 
the hands of a noted gang of horse-thieves, the impun- 
ity with which they committed their outrages being 
chiefly due to the fact that they had secret accomplices 
scattered here and there through the settlements. 

u If the folks in these parts don't get stirred up a 
trifle now, my name ain't Benjamin Hagan," continued 
that modern representative of the Good Samaritan. 
" But let me help you mount my beast, and we'll get 
home as quick as we can. You look as though you 
wanted a little fixing." 

Grave as was the situation, it occurred to me with 
some sense of amusement that I was pretty thoroughly 
u fixed" already, being now in circumstances of suffi- 
cient distress to give me an undoubted claim on the 
charity of any Masonic brother, for it may not be 
known to the general reader that the style of dress, or 
rather undress, imposed on every lodge candidate and 
duly described in a prior chapter, is really an object 
lesson, the lodge being much given to this peculiar 
method of instruction; and the reasons therefore, Ma- 
sonically considered, are as follows: u That, being an 
object of distress at the time, it was to remind the 



A CERTAIN MAN WENT DOWN FROM JERICHO. 59 

candidate if he ever saw a brother in like situation to 
contribute liberally to his relief." 

Mr. Hagan's connection with the fraternity I felt to 
be a rather doubtful point, but I remembered that 
among the other bits of disinterested advice given me 
before leaving home, I was told that it was always best 
to determine, by putting a direct question at the out- 
set, whether or no the person on whose charity I might 
happen to be thrown was a Mason. And this question 
I accordingly put. But instead of answering me at 
once, Mr. Hagan stared with something between a 
frown and a smile, and then put the return interroga- 
tory: 

" Be you one?" 

" Yes," I answered, rather faintly. 

u Then, stranger, I will give you some advice. Don't 
go to maddening me with any of your grips and signs, 
for I tell you beforehand, I ain't responsive." 

And having thus delivered himself, Mr. Hagan's face 
resumed its usual serenity of expression, as he helped 
me to mount, and then led the horse by the bridle for 
about half a mile, till he reached a neat, substantially 
built log cabin, the front almost covered with flowering 
vines, where "his woman," a gentle, dove-like being, 
who used the Quaker thee and thou, stood ready, as 
soon as the case was explained to her, to lavish upon 
me every motherly care. 

And sorely, indeed, I needed it. Fever set in, the 
result of my wounds, and for several days ran high. 




CHAPTER VIII. 

MRS. HAGAN'S OPINION OF ELDER GUSHING. 

AM glad thee is feeling better, friend 
Leander. Will thee try some squirrel 
soup? It will be nice and nourishing 
for thee." 

This remark was addressed to me by 
Mrs. Hagan, one day after I had made con- 
siderable progress on the road to convales- 
cence. Dressed in the regulation gray of her 
sect, with a snowy handkerchief pinned across 
her bosom, and on her head the daintiest Quaker' cap', 
which could not quite confine the bright hair that 
waved and rippled over her forehead with most un- 
Quaker like freedom, my hostess was a charming 
woman, as fitted to adorn a palace, had Providence seen 
fit to place her in one, as her own log cabin home. 

During my sickness I learned considerable about my 
host and his wife. They were both communicative in 
the easy, simple-hearted fashion which naturally begets 
confidence in return. Already I had told them all 
about Rachel, and my engagement to her, to the great 
delight of the worthy couple, the history of whose own 
courtship and marriage I will now proceed to relate. 

Mr. Hagan was born in Virginia, and on the death 
of his father came into possession of considerable 
property, of which a number of negro slaves formed 



MRS. HAGAX'S OPIHlOtf OF Lt)ER GUSHING. 61 

the most valuable part. On a visit into the bordering 
State of Pennsylvania, he fell deeply in love with a fair 
young Quakeress, who, though her family were decided- 
ly against her marrying outside the pale of Friends, 
seemed disposed to smile upon his suit. But on one 
point she stood firm. Educated to believe that human 
slavery was a horrible system, replete with wrong, and 
the grossest injustice, she utterly refused to counte- 
nance it so far as to marry a slaveholder. And as 
fourteen years of service were as nothing to Jacob for 
the love he bore to Rachel, so the value of his human 
chattels were to honest Ben Hagan as the small dust 
of the balance compared to the priceless jewel of such 
a woman's affection. Like the merchantman in the 
parable he sold all he had and bought it. 

As was natural with a man of his intense convictions 
it was but a step from ceasing to be a slaveholder to 
becoming an ardent Abolitionist, and Mr. Hagan, by 
his fierce denunciations of the system, soon made him- 
self so unpopular with his neighbors that he was 
finally glad, for more pressing reasons than poverty 
for after freeing his slaves' there was not much left of 
the father's patrimony to leave Virginia and buy a 
tract of land in one of the wildest portions of western 
Pennsylvania. But the woman who had urged him to 
this step for conscience' sake was not the one to shrink 
back from any personal sacrifice it might involve. 
Cheerfully she accepted all the hardships and privations 
of that rough border life, while her Quaker thrift and 
management told in the long run. Children were born 
to them, and a fair degree of comfort and prosperity 
now bless their simple, God-fearing lives. 

Mr. Hagan had been for a number of years an 



62 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

itinerant Methodist preacher, whose services at camp- 
meetings were in great demand, as before his stentorian 
voice and fervid eloquence his simple, excitable hearers 
bent like a field of corn before the reaper's scythe; and 
his gentle Quaker consort supplemented his labors most 
efficiently, for their seemingly opposite faiths, producing 
no discord in their lives, caused no separation in their 
work. Her "inner light,'' and his u witness of the 
Spirit; 11 her Quaker simplicity of speech and his Meth- 
odist fervor, blended together in delightful harmony 
like the different parts in a psalm tune; though the 
unregenerate man within him would sometimes crop 
out in a mild expletive for which she always reproved 
him with a gentle, u I am surprised at thee, Benjamin." 

As I was sipping the squirrel soup, delicious in its 
rich flavor and exact seasoning, Mrs. Hagan took out 
her knitting and began to engage me in a talk about 
Rachel, which brought out among other things the 
story of her spiritual difficulties to which she listened 
with silent though intent interest. 

"Has thee no minister in thy midst?" she finally 
asked. 

U yes; Elder Gushing. He is considered a good 
preacher, I believe; but Rachel doesn't like him very 
well, and he never seemed to help her any." 

"Hath he helped others?" 

I thought a moment and then was obliged to answer, 
bluntly but frankly, u I never heard of his converting 
anybody." 

" Then am I to understand that thee never has any 
revivals in thy midst, no seasons of refreshing from the 
Lord?" gravely pursued my interlocutor. 

" A few join sometimes by letter from other church- 



-. : . 



HAGAN'S OPINION OF ELDER GUSHING. 63 

es mostly. Now and then somebody makes a pro- 
fession, but that's rather an uncommon thing." 

Mrs. Hagan's needles clicked very fast for a moment, 
and I began to hope she had asked me all the questions 
she was going to, at least on this particular subject; 
for not having thought much about it before I did not 
feel qualified to give her strictly accurate. information. 

Finally she dropped her knitting and turning round 
to me inquired, 

" Is thy minister a good man?" 

" Nay, friend Leander," she added, seeing that I was 
really too much astonished to make an immediate reply, 
" thee need not look so surprised at my question, for if 
thee will turn to the Bible thee will learn how the 
priests under the ancient covenant sometimes wrought 
evil in the sight of the Lord. There must always be 
offences, but woe unto that man by whom the offence 
cometh; and a double woe if he be set for a watchman 
of Zion. But I desire to think no evil of thine Elder. 
It may be in the people. What more can thee tell me 
about him ?" 

" He is thought* a good deal of by other ministers, 
and some of his sermons have been printed; mostly 
Masonic addresses, delivered at funerals and other 
special occasions. He stands very high in the order, 
and has taken fifteen or more degrees. I really don't 
know as I can think of much of anything else to tell 
you about him," I added, apologetically, for I could 
hardly suppose she would be satisfied with such a brief 
and bare description of Elder Cushing's ministerial 
character and qualifications. 

But she answered quietly, " Thee has no need to say 
more, for thee hath said quite enough to show me why 



64 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

he has no help for thy friend. 4 Can the blind lead the 
blind?' He hath need to be taught himself, and how 
should he teach another? taught the same lesson that 
my husband learned five years ago this very night, when 
the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and so 
convinced him of sin in the matter of being a Mason 
and joining in their false worship, that he came out 
from among them forever, and bore testimony to their 
evil works." 

She spoke with slow, solemn, almost rhythmic ca- 
dence, as she generally did when under the influence of 
strong feeling. And much as I wondered at her words, 
I wondered more at the speaker this fair, spiritual 
woman with her strange dual life; one part all earthly 
and practical, filled with the rough, homely duties of a 
borderer's wife, while the other took such hold on the 
divine and the heavenly that she seemed almost like 
one who moved and had her being among the eternal 
realities of the unseen world. 

During my illness she had often beguiled me of 
weariness and pain, by relating to me some of her " ex- 
periences," which, as I think of them now in the light 
of a maturer understanding, appear to have been the 
result of a mighty faith acting unconsciously on one of 
those rare natures in which the practical common sense 
of the worker goes hand in hand with the poetic 
mysticism of the idealist and dreamer. 

Once when lost in the woods she had prayed .for 
guidance and seemed 'to hear angel voices directing her 
steps. At another time when her husband was pros- 
trated by a slow wasting sickness in which neither 
medicine nor doctors proved of any avail, after a season 
of prayer by his bedside she had seen in a vision an 



MRS. HAGAN'S OPINION OE ELDER GUSHING. 65 

elderly man of grave appearance, who, bidding her to 
" be of good cheer," put into her hand a certain root 
with directions how to make a medicine from it for her 
sick husband; which directions she at once on awaken- 
ing from her trance proceeded to follow with such good 
results that he soon began to recover. 

Of course nothing could be easier than for the 
skeptically inclined to demonstrate to a nicety that 
Mrs. Hagan was altogether mistaken and deceived; 
that the angel voices were mere figments of a bewildered 
fancy, and her knowledge of the root which proved so 
efficacious a remedy, instead of being supernaturally 
imparted by a divine messenger, had dropped in her 
childhood from the lips of some old Quaker nurse, but 
being too young at the time to give it any heed, it had 
lain dormant and forgotten until memory, wrought 
upon by a sudden crisis, had delivered up the secret in 
this visionary guise. But, after granting the truth of 
any theory like the above, there remained much the 
same difficulty that thoughtful minds experience after 
hearing the Bible miracles explained away on the most 
approved materialistic basis; for her whole life and 
character, sublimated as they were by a habit of most 
frequent and exalted intercourse with the Eternal, pre- 
sented in itself a phenomenon more wonderful than 
any of her dreams and visions. 

" My husband desires to have a talk with thee on this 
subject before thee leaves us," she said, rising to take 
away the empty bowl. " I fear thee will never see thy 
horse again, but thee must not feel uneasy about pur- 
suing thy journey. Means will be found for so doing 
when thou hRst gained sufficient strength. The rob- 
bers have been pursued, fhee knows, but without sue- 



66 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

cess. It was hoped the capture of Dick Stover and his 
sons would break up the work of the gang in these 
parts, but they received warning in time to flee the 
settlement. But there is Benjamin, now." 

And she hurried off to greet her husband, and attend 
to certain housewifely duties incident on his home- 
coming. 




CHAPTER IX. 

MR. HAG AN" TELLS WHAT HE KNOWS ABOUT MASONRY.' 

HOPE if the rogues ever are caught 
and there's small chance of that, for they 
are miles over the border by this time, 
and safe in some of their haunts, most 
likely they'll be hung without benefit 
of judge or jury," remarked Mr. Hagan, 
whose soul chafed within him at the easy 
escape of the desperadoes. 

" Does thee know what thee is saying, Ben- 
jamin? 1 ' mildly inquired his wife, this outburst rather 
shocking her peaceful non-resistant principles, as savor- 
ing quite too much of that spirit of vengeance inherent 
in " the natural man." 4t It is an awful thing to send 
any poor soul before its Maker without giving it any 
time for preparation.' 1 

" I know that, Mary, and I would be the last man to 
counsel violence if the law could be depended on. But 
now about Dick Stover. Who gave him and his sons 
warning? and how did it happen that the sheriff at the 
time the writ for their arrest ought to have been served 
was away and couldn't be found till there had been 
plenty of time for them to make tracks out of the set- 
tlement? When sheriffs, and juries, and the very 
judges on the bench are in league with thieves and 



&8 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

murderers, honest men had better take the law into 
their own hands. That's just 'my opinion." 

"Thee thinkest, Benjamin, because one end of the 
skein is snarled, $ie best way to get it smooth is to go 
to work and snarl up the other end, does theenot?" 
asked his wife. At which small piece of feminine satire 
her husband laughed good-naturedly, and then as a 
sudden remembrance seemed to strike his mind, he 
turned to her and said: 

" Daniel Stebbins' child is sick again, and they want 
to know if you haint got some more of that bark 
that did it so much good last spring." 

u A whole bottleful. The children are off down to 
the creek, but if thee'll see to the baby while I am 
gone I'll go right over and carry them some." 

This was no formidable charge, as the baby, a chubby 
ten-month-old, was then placidly enjoying its afternoon 
nap. There was nothing to hinder a quiet talk, and 
Mr. Hagan seemed in the mood for one. Tilting his 
chair back at precisely the right angle for comfort, he 
began, putting in abeyance for the time a question I 
was about to ask, whether indeed the laws in that par- 
ticular portion of the Quaker State were so imperfectly, 
administered as to shield criminals, a painful conviction 
to that effect having been forced upon my mind during 
the preceding conversation. 

" I suppose now you thought by what I said when you 
asked me if I was a Mason that I wan't one. But I am 
or rather I was one once. Now, if I may inquire, 
what is the highest degree you've taken in it, so far?" 

"The Master's," I answered, not feeling, of course, 
after what Mrs. Hagan had divulged, any s surprise at 
the revelation. 



WHAT MR. HAGAST KNOWS ABOUT MASONRY. 69 

" I didn't reckon you'd been much further," coolly 
pursued Mr. Hagan. " I've gone jour degrees higher 
than that up to the Royal Arch. Now, are you satis- 
fied with it so far, speaking in a general kind of a way?" 

For reasons that must be obvious to the discerning 
reader, I found it much easier to reply to Mr. Hagan 
than to Mark Stedman, who, it will be remembered, 
had once put to me a similar question. Here was a 
man who knew not only all the Masonic secrets I knew 
but presumably a good many more. 

"It doesn't suit me in all respects," I answered, 
candidly. " I don't fancy the oaths, nor many of the 
ceremonies they have to go through with. But then I 
shouldn't think of saying there was no good in Mason- 
ry. Its teachings are on the side of morality and re- 
ligion; and that is certainly a good thing as far as it 
goes. My grandfather belongs to it, and he is one of 
the best men I ever knew." 

" I only put the question that I might see better how 
the ground lay between us,' 1 continued Mr. Hagan, with 
a quiet ignoring of both these arguments. " Now I'll 
tell you how I come to give it up. You know that 
when I married Mary I made myself a poor man for 
her sake. Not that I've ever been sorry for that, mind 
you; I never felt so happy in my life before as when I 
broke the first clod of ground about here, and thought 
of my slaves all free and comfortably settled on farms 
of their own. i No broken hearts,' thinks I, ' to be 
laid to my account hereafter; no wives parted from 
their husbands; no babes torn out of their mother's 
arms and sold on the auction block.' But that's neither 
here nor there. It's Masonry we are talking about, 
and that you know is a thing Friends ain't over partial 



TO BOLDEST WITH COEDS. 

to, no more than they are to slavery. So when I 
married Mary I concluded not to say anything to her 
about my being one. While I see no great evil in it, 
I'm free to allow that I was anything but satisfied in 
my own mind. There were things about it I couldn't 
seem to make hinge with Scripture, no how; but I 
thought I'd hang on to it, saying to myself that I was 
a poor man and might be glad of their help sometime, 
seeing we are all liable to sickness and trouble as the 
sparks fly upward. And maybe I should have gone on 
deceiving Mary to this day if I hadn't fell under the 
power of the Spirit. I was at a campmeeting over to 
Bear Creek. We had some powerful preaching and it 
hit right and left. I thought I had religion before; I 
used to pray and exhort; so I was kinder pitying the 
poor sinners, as they fell to the ground all around me 
by scores, groaning and calling on the Lord for mercy, 
when all at once an arrow from the Almighty struck 
me, right between the joints of the harness, as it were. 
I began to shake and tremble, and almost before I knew 
it, I was down as flat as the most hardened reprobate 
there. 1 tell you when the Spirit gets hold of a man 
as he did of me then, and turns him inside out and up- 
side down he feels like an empty vessel, as the Scripture 
says: there ain't much spiritual pride or anything else 
left in him. Folks that knew me and had heard me 
pray and exhort thought I was getting' some deeper 
experience, and so they crowded round me, and some 
shouted l Hallelujah.' and some prayed, and some sung 
1 Glory;' but all the praying and shouting and singing 
went over my head as idle and unmeaning as the rush 
of the wind in the treetops, till finally old Father 
ILoomis came along. He wan't the smartest preacher 



WHAT MR. HAGAN KNOWS ABOUT MASONRY. 71 

on our circuit, folks said, but he had a kind of gift with 
the anxious ones, a way of seeing through 'em some- 
how, and putting his finger right on their trouble. 
And when he came to me all he did was just to kneel 
down and pray like this: ; Lord, show this man 
wherefore thou contendest with him. Set his secret 
sin in the light of thy countenance.' And then he 
went straight off to somebody else, but that prayer 
just flashed the truth right through and through me. 
I knew I'd got to give up Masonry. And I was glad 
to give it up; I hated it. Why, if two doors had opened 
before me, and on the signboard of one was wrote, k The 
Lodge,' and on the other ' The Bottomless Pit,' I'd have 
gone into one just as quick as into the other. The 
Lord had set my secret sin in the light of his counte- 
nance. I got right up on my feet, and I made con- 
fession how I had sinned by continuing a thing my 
conscience disallowed. And as soon as I did that the 
Lord restored unto me the joy of his free Spirit, and 
gave me great liberty in laboring with sinners; and 
there was a precious ingathering of souls at that meet- 
ing such as was never seen before or since in these 
parts." 

Mr. Hagan paused an instant in his rapid narrative, 
and then went on: 

''But our feelings ain't the thing we are to go by. 
It's the law and the testimony; and if we had nothing 
but just the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on 
the Mount, they'd be enough to show whether Mason- 
ry is right or wrong." 

Astonishment and perplexity had taken hold of me 
while I listened, nor was either feeling much diminished 
when he handed me his well-thumbed pocket Bible 



72 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

open at the fifth chapter of Matthew, thirty-fifth verse. 
"That says, l Swear not at all;' then are lodge oaths 
contrary to Scripture or not? And ain't there some 
things in 'em at the end that don't gibe very well with 
the Sixth Commandment?'' 

"You mean the penalties," 16 1 answered, with a vivid 
rememberance of my own scruples in that regard, and 
the soothing anodyne administered by some of the 
lodge brethren. "I have been told that they do not 
really mean anything more than merely to impress on 
the candidate's mind a sense of the guilt he would in- 
cur if he violates his oath." 

"Ain't it breaking the Third Commandment to call 
God to witness words that don't mean anything? And 
will the Lord hold him guiltless who takes his name in 
vain, because he does it in a lodge, with ministers and 
church members round to keep him in countenance ?" 

I was silent, while Mr. Hagan's long fingers moved 
on to another passage as relentless as one of the Fates. 

"You promised never to defraud a brother Mason. 
How about cheating folks that ain't Masons? The 
Golden Rule don't read much like that, if I remember 
right. And you know our Lord has given us some 
pretty plain talk on the Seventh Commandment. How 
did your lodge oath handle that? Didn't it say, not in 
just these words, but what come to the same thing: 
1 Break it as often as you're a mind to, and we'll wink 
at it; only because when you're bringing misery into 
happy homes, and ruin and disgrace on the innocent, 
that they ain't Masons' homes nor Masons' wives and 
daughters?' How would you like some time after you 
are married to sit down and tell Rachel that part of 
your Master Mason's oath ? What do you think Christ 

NOTE 16 "A most solemn ir.ethod of confirming an path was by plating a 
drawn siuord across the throat of the person to whom it was administered.' 
Pierson's Traditions, page 33. 



WHAT MR. HAGAIST KNOWS ABOUT MASOKRY. 73 

would say to it? I don't wonder his presence ain't 
wanted much in the lodge. He was sharp enough on 
the Pharisees when they tried to pare down and clip 
away from the laws of God l Ye serpents, ye genera- 
tion of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of 
hell?' Such a remark as that now might jar on the 
proceedings considerable." 

I thought the same, but preserved a discreet silence; 
though all the while Mr. Hagan-was putting to me 
these terrible questions, I watched with fascinated gaze 
that faithful hand move serenely on, marking Mene< 
Mene, against that u moral and religious" system so 
dear to the hearts of my grandfather, and Deacon 
Brown and Elder Gushing, to say nothing of a host of 
other worthies more or less eminent in their day and 
generation. 

" What do you think Christ meant when he said, 
' Render unto Caesar the things that be Caesars'?" 

I did not see very clearly the -drift of this inquiry, 
but feeling it as a temporary truce in this severe cross- 
examination, I answered promptly enough, " That we 
ought to obey the laws of the land and be good citizens, 
I suppose." 

" Did you think of that when you promised to warn 
a brother Mason of any approaching danger, and keep 
all his secrets, murder and treason" excepted?" 

kt I thought a good Mason was not supposed to com- 
mit criminal acts," I said, this being the best answer I 
..could think of under the circumstances. 

"Then it seems to me that when they put in them 
words they took a mighty deal of trouble for nothing, 
especially as, they ain't very pleasant sounding ones," 
remarked Mr. Hagan. dryly. 



NOTE 17. ''Treason and rebellion al?o, because they are altogether political 
offences, cannot bt: inquired into by the lodge, and although a Mason may be 
convicted of cither of those acts in the courts of his country, he cannot be Ma- 
sonically punished*, and notwithstanding his treason or rebellion, hia relation to 
the lodge, to use the language of the old charges, remains indefeasible." Mack- 
ey's Masonic Jurisprudence, p. 510. 



74 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

Again a discreet silence, in which I began to dimly 
perceive the beauty of at least one of my Masonic 
jewels. For in the lack of any answering argument, 
what refuge like a " silent tongue?" 

"And how are you going to tell a good Mason from 
a bad one?" pursued Mr. Hagan, thus calling to memo- 
ry the unpleasant fact that even though the lodge ex- 
pelled an unworthy* member, there was no Lethe process 
which could pour oblivion over the knowledge of its 
secret signs and grips and passwords, for when once 
imparted he would be just as free to use them as a 
shield from the consequences of his own criminal acts, 
as any member in 'good and regular standing' for 
legitimate purposes. But I won't be hard on you, see- 
ing I've done a trifle worse than that myself. When I 
took the Royal Arch degree I promised to help a com- 
panion in any difficulty, right or wrong, and keep all of 
his secrets, without any exception. And besides, I 

" Mr. Hagan," I exclaimed, starting up, tc I really 
can't I mean I wish you wouldn't tell me anything 
that you have no right to tell. 1 think with your views 
about the order you did entirely right to leave them, 
but to reveal secrets that you have taken a solemn oath 
to keep seems to me quite a different matter." 

My host answered with the same peculiar look he 
had worn on our first encounter, when I put to him 
that unlucky question regarding his Masonic con- 
nections. 

" I argered that out long before you ever thought of 
being a Freemason, and I've seen no ground for chang- 
ing my mind since. If a man takes a wicked oath, 
where's the Bible authority for keeping it ? Is it to 
the glory of God that he should keep it, or break it? 



WHAT MR. HAGAST KNOWS ABOUT MASONRY. 75 

But then," added Mr. Hagan, with a slight change in 
his voice, " a man hain't no right nuther to throw away 
his life. I argered that out too, and I'm mighty care- 
ful what I say before them that'll turn it to my hurt." 

" Mr. Hagan," said I, startled but incredulous, " do 
you actually mean that if any Mason should betray the 
secrets of the order he would have to suffer the penal- 
ty of his oath?" 

Mr. Hagan looked keenly at me from beneath his 
shaggy eyebrows. 

"That ain't the question, whether such a thing would 
be. It has been done; and Tm knowing to it. r 




CHAPTER X. 

A MASONIC MURDER SUCCESS AND RETURN HOME. 

HORROR fell upon me. The soft south 
wind came sighing through the cabin, 
the sunshine lay in great golden patches 
on the floor, but I. felt like one on whose 
shuddering gaze the door of some mould- 
ering charnel house had suddenly opened as 
1 listened to Mr. Hagan's story, which ran 
as follows: 

" I joined the lodge when I lived in Virginia. 
Now there's a difference in human nater, we all allow 
that; and there's a difference in lodges. Some are de- 
tent and respectable, as far as the outside of things go, 
and others again aro as full of rowdyism and all man- 
ner of goings on that shouldn't be, as an egg is of 
meat. And this was the way with the one I joined. 
I got so disgusted after a while that I stopped going to 
their meetings. I hadn't much taste for profanity nor 
hard drinking, you see, but I kept on paying my dues, 
and so was considered a regular Mason in good stand- 
ing. It was afterwards that this affair happened which 
I'm going to tell you about. 

" The chaplain was Gus Peters, and though he could 
not read a word of two syllables without spelling it, - 
they chose him to the office for a joke. He was a sim- 
ple kind of a fellow, that got hold accidentally of some 
of the secrets, I never rightly knew how, so they made 



A MASONIC MURDER. 7? 

him take the oath and become a regular member as the 
best way to shut his mouth. He got into drinking 
ways after- he'd been in the lodge a while he'd been 
tolerably steady before and that was how the trouble 
come. When the liquor was in him he was apt to let 
out the secrets, and it got to be a serious question what 
to do about it. Things went on so for a time, then all 
at once the man was missing, and he never turned up 
again, dead or alive. Folks settled it that he'd stepped 
into the water some night when he was too tipsy to go 
straight, and there the matter ended. As I said before, 
I'd pretty much stopped going to the lodge then, and 
I married soon afterwards and came up here to live, and 
what with the trouble we had, for I was sick all one 
summer, and the crops, fell short for two seasons 
running, enough happened to drive the whole thing 
out of my head. 

"Three years ago last winter, while I was on a preach- 
ing circuit, 1 come across an old acquaintance that was 
a member with me of that same lodge in Virginia. The 
man stuck to me like a burr, and when I found he was 
really sick and had no money to carry him further, I 
told him I'd settle the bill for a night's lodging at the 
tavern. 

u Well, he set and shivered over the fire and talked 
in a queer random way for a while. Then all at once 
he started up and stared at me kinder wild and anxious. 

" ' You remember Gus Peters?' says he. 

" I told him, ' Yes:' and then he said in a whisper, as 
though he was afraid somebody was listening at the 
keyhole 

" l I'll tell you, for we are both Masons and bound to 
keep each other's secrets. I 'know what became of him /' 



78 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

"An awful suspicion shot through my mind when 
he said that, but I kept quiet and let him talk on. 

" k You see we were chosen by lot, I and another man, 
to put him out of the way. We couldn't help it. We 
had to do it. Ain't we sworn to obey every summons 18 
of the lodge to the length of our cable-tow? And the 
drunken fool was babbling out our secrets. But it 
wan't me that drawed the knife across his throat; I 
want you to know that. I helped fasten the weights 
to him and throw him into the creek. He'd taken the 
oath and knew what the penalty was, and it ain't mur- 
der I say to hold a man to his oath. Leastways its 
Jack Benedick, not me, that's got to answer for it. 
You remember Benedick, one of the dare-devil sort. 
He's a gentleman of the road now, and I reckon has 
forgot all about that little affair.' 

" I let him ramble on, for I felt as though I was under 
a spell. I couldn't move hand nor foot. I ain't giving 
you all the little details of his story, but every circum- 
stance about it fitted together like a piece of joiner's 
woik, and I hadn't a doubt in my mind but what it 
was true. 

u In two daj r s he died of delirium tremens, and I see 
that he was decently buried." 

I sat for a moment after Mr. Hagan had finished this 
awful recital, literally dumb with horror. Was the 
spirit of Cain at the heart of this " benevolent insti- 
tution, and its terrible penalties not the mere lifeless 
formulas I had been taught to believe, but instinct with 
awful meaning for the betrayer of Masonic secrets ? 

u Benedick?" I said, questioningly, as a new idea- 
struck me. " Isn't that the name of the head one in 
the gang that took my horse and nearly murdered me ?" 

NOTE 18. "The Mason who disobeys a due, summons subjects himself to se- 
vere penalties." Morris's Dictionary, Art. Disobedience. 



A MASONIC MURDER. 79 

u He's the very same man; a Royal Arch Mason/' 
answered Mr. Hagan coolly. u He's learned his trade 
thoroughly since he cut poor Gus's throat. The Stovers 
are all Masons, and if you don't understand how they 
cleared out of the settlement so easy without any 
hindrance from the sheriff, you've forgot the most im- 
portant part of your lodge oaths, I reckon." 

Over this information I pondered silently, for it cer- 
tainly verified the truth of Deacon Brown's statements 
in a manner more convincing than, agreeable. What 
a fine chance of u consorting on brotherly terms with 
rohbers and marauders" I lost through undue modesty 
when I stopped at the Stovers' cabin ! 

The sudden awakening of the baby, who began to 
cry most vehemently, and refused to be comforted by 
any process with which masculine minds were con- 
versant, stopped further revelations until Mrs. Hagan's 
return allowed us to continue our talk. 

"Mary knows as much about Freemasonry as J do," 
resumed Mr. Hagan. kt You may think some of the 
things ain't fit for a woman's ears, and I don't say they 
are; but to my mind no lodge oath has a right to sun- 
der them God has joined together. And somehow you 
can tell things to an angel that you can't to a common 
woman." 

Mr. Hagan uttered this profound philosophical truth 
with a simplicity refreshing to hear; and silence fell 
between us for several moments, which 1 spent in men- 
tally considering how the test would apply to Rachel. 
Under no imaginable circumstances could I ever find it 
easy to tell her the secrets of the lodge, from which I 
concluded that there was considerably more woman and 
less saint about Rachel Stedman than Mary Hagan. ' 



80 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

'' Did you ever hear of a Captain William Morgan? 1 ' 
asked Mr. Hagan, finally breaking the silence. " I 
heard he had moved to New York State. We were 
boys together in Culpepper County.' 1 

" My grandfather is very well acquainted with him, 1 ' 
I answered eagerly, little thinking how soon that name 
would stir the land to its very center with the greatest 
horror and pity and indignation. "At least I think 
it must be the same man you are speaking of, for I 
know he came from Virginia." 

" I used to think he was uncommon smart," pursued 
Mr. Hagan; " a man the world might hear from some 
day. He was one that always had his thoughts, and 
was free- to speak 'em whether other folks agreed with 
him or not. A frank, generous, open kind of a nature 
he had. Nothing underhand about William Morgan; 



never." 



"My grandfather thinks very highly of him," I re- 
turned. "He is a very fine appearing man, I have 
heard him say, and one that can talk well on almost 
any subject. He first went to Canada, and engaged in 
business, but a fire reduced him to poverty, so that he 
has gone back to his old trade of bricklaying. He and 
his young wife are now livin'g in Batavia, Genesee 
County." 

Mr. Hagan, with his hands clasped over his knees, 
sat silent, his eyes fixed on one of the golden checkered 
patches of sunlight that wavered and danced over the 
cabin floor. 

"Captain Morgan is a Freemason," I continued, 
" and unusually well posted in the secrets of the order, 
I have heard my grandfather say. Now, if Masonry is 
really contrary to the Bible, and I must admit that it 



CAPTAIN WILLIAM MORGAN 81 

seems so from your showing, how is it that two such 
men as they don't or can't see it in its true light? 
How can it be supposed that they or the members of 
the Masonic fraternity generally could look with any- 
thing but execration and horror on such a cold-blooded 
murder as you have been telling me about, planned and 
carried on by a few desperate villains, Masons only in 
name, and vile enough to use their connection with the 
order as a cloak for every crime?" 

" I ain't a man to see visions or dream dreams/' slowly 
answered Mr. flagan, " but speaking from what I know 
of the spirit of the order, something as bad as that, or 
worse, will happen yet, arid not done in a corner as that 
deed was. Then, and not till then, the scales will fall 
from their eyes. I know what I'm saying, and you 
mark my words." 

My host did not give me much time to ponder over 
this startling prophecy, but after a moment of silence 
began on another subject by making an inquiry about 
the locality of my grandfather's claim. The rest of 
our conversation I shall not transcribe, it being decided- 
ly too geographical in its general details to interest the 
average reader. 

The " claim" lay about forty miles distant, and like 
the Good Samaritan he had already proved himself, as 
soon as I was able to resume my journey, Mr. Hagan 
lent me a horse and funds sufficient for my needs. 
Fortune, though she had showed an adverse face hith- 
erto, now suddenly changed her frowns to smiles, and 
when I reached my destination a tract of wilderness 
land near the Virginia line, where some enterprising 
capitalists had taken it into their heads to lay out a 
city whose name and precise location on the map need 



82 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

not be given here, being a matter of no special moment 
to the reader I succeeded in negotiating such favora- 
able terms of sale as more than realized my grand- 
father's most sanguine expectations; and I begun the 
return journey, which being perfectly free from adven- 
ture gave me time to do considerable thinking, with a 
light heart. 

On my homeward way I stopped for a night at the 
Hagans'. The gentle Quakeress, whose womanly in- 
terest in my betrothed had not at all abated, gave me 
a couple of fine hem-stitched handkerchiefs to take to 
Rachel as a wedding gift, remarking in the quaint man- 
ner peculiar to her sect, 

" I have a concern on my mind for thy friend, but I do 
not doubt she is one of the Lord's elect, and will some 
day be brought into the light. But have a care that 
thee does not put a stumbling block in her way." 

" Mrs. Hagan!" I exclaimed, feeling really hurt at 
the insinuation. 

" Thee would never do it purposely, friend Leander,' 
but thee might do it unthinkingly. Did Rachel wish 
thee to join the lodge?" 

" No; she was very much opposed to it." 

" Does thee imagine her opposition will grow less 
when thee and she are wedded?" was Mrs. Hagan's 
next searching inquiry. 

Before this pure-souled woman, knowing that she 
was talking with full knowledge of all the ridiculous 
ceremonials of the lodge, its awful oaths and hideous 
penalties, i felt my cheeks glowing hot with the blush 
of honest shame. 

; 'No;" I answered, after a moment's hesitation, 
" Rachel is not apt to change her mind when it is once 



SUCCESS AND BETUKN HOME. 83 

made up. But I sincerely mean, after we are married, 
to stop attending the lodge altogether. It will be ex- 
cuse enough that I don't want to leave Rachel alone 
evenings." 

'"Take heed, friend Leander, lest thy fear of man 
bring thee into a snare, and with thee this dear soul 
whose welfare should be precious to thee as thine own 
life, t am a woman and I have the heart of a woman. 
My husband never guessed it, and I have never told 
him, but long before he confessed to me that he had 
been a Mason I knew the whole truth. Does thee 
think I passed no miserable hours with the thought 
like an arrow in my heart that the one I loved and 
honored before all other men was deceiving me? And 
1 would warn thee beforehand of the danger to thy 
mutual happiness. Thee and Rachel will make a sad 
mistake to begin married life at variance with each 
other. 'Can two walk together unless they be agreed ?'" 

" 0, we agree to disagree, Mrs. Hagan," I answered, 
with an assumed lightness, " at least so far as Masonry 
is concerned. Rachel never really opposed my joining 
the lodge in so many words; but she has a tremendous 
power of letting me know what she thinks without 
saying much." 

" I have warned thee," she answered, her deep, spirit- 
ual eyes not looking at me as she spoke, but with a 
curious far away gaze in them that awed me though I 
did not understand it. "I have warned thee," she re- 
peated, in the same strangely solemn way, and said no 
more. 

The beautiful lives of Benjamin and Mary Hagan 
were never wrought into a biography, but long after- 
wards I accidentally heard of them as keepers of a 



84 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

famous station on the underground railroad, minister- 
ing to the Lord they loved in the person of many a 
poor footsore fugitive to whom such a halting place on 
their weary road must have seemed like the chamber 
called Peace, with its windows opened toward the rising 
sun of liberty. 

I paid for the horse and returned the money Mr. 
Hagau. had lent me to offer anything more I felt would 
be an insult to their simple-hearted kindness and rode 
away the next morning, the hot tears blinding my eyes 
as I left them standing in their cabin door with words 
of farewell upon their lips. 

The sun was setting when I entered Brownsville, 
and the first person to meet me with recognizing glance 
happened to be Sam Toller. 

u If I ain't glad to see ye back again, Leander Sev- 
erns," he said, after his first doubtful stare, for the sun 
was in his face, and it was not till I came directly 
alongside that he fully comprehended who I was. 

"But they'll be a sight gladder to see ye up to the 
house. Been swapping horses?" he asked abruptly, as 
his eye fell on my raw-boned steed, which was certainly 
in decided contrast to the sleek and beautiful Major. 
" Yer gran'ther won't like that." 

I had not thought it best to rouse useless anxiety by 
writing home any account of the adventures which had 
befallen me, and Sam was therefore the first person to 
receive the news. Certainly if its speedy publication 
had been an important object with me, nobody any 
better qualified for that purpose could have been se- 
lected. 

"Wall, things did fall out with ye kinder providen- 
tial, after all," grunted Sam, who was by no means of 



SUCCESS AND RETURN HOME. 85 

an irreligious turn of mind, and could, when he chose, 
make the most edifying moral reflections. It was a 
remarkable deliverance, and I hope ye thanKed the Lord 
for it. Now I lay anything that the man that did so 
well by ye was a Mason, and I have been thinking that 
it might be a good thing for me to join the lodge. 

" Mr. Hagan had been a Mason, it is true," 1 an- 
swered, cautiously, concealing with some difficulty a 
smile at the very idea of poor, shiftless Sam Toller, 
who never had money enough in his pocket to pay his 
entrance fee, ever being admitted. "He told me so 
himself; but it was because he was a Christian that he 
was so good to me, and not in the least because he was 
a Mason." 

u All the same, 1 ' replied Sam cheerfully, " I've kinder 
gathered from Elder Cushing's talk that there ain't 
much difference; a good Mason and a good Christian 
are abo'.it alike. Now what would you say if I should 
tell you I had jined 'em while you've been gone/' 

And to my unspeakable amazement Sam leaned over 
and gave me, in the most approved Masonic style, the 
Master Mason's grip. 

" Is it possible, Sam?" I asked, as soon as I could get 
breath from my first bewilderment, which state of mind 
was nowise abated by Sam's answer, 

" Hain't I got just as good a right to be a Mason as 
any man? If I hain't I. like to know why." 

And Sam, ordinarily the best-tempered fellow in the 
world, waxed surprisingly irate. 

" I am sure I meant no offence, Sam," I answered, 
humbly. u It was quite natural I should be a little 
surprised. But now I want to know all about the 



86 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

folks, and how things have gone on at home while iVe 
been away." 

"Middling well," was Sam's succinct reply. "There's 
the Captain now, a standing at the gate as though he 
was looking for ye." 




CHAPTER XL 

MORE TALK WITH MY GRANDFATHER. A MODERN PAN. 

N a moment my grandfather had caught 
sight of me and hobbled out, his white 
locks waving in the wind. the joy of 
that home coming! The quiet, blissful 
content when my mother's tears of hap- 
piness were all shed, and my story of dis- 
aster and success recounted in its every de- 
tail for the twentieth time! For, as Rachel 
prophesied, I had come home " quite a hero," 
even in Joe's eyes, who was decidedly more respectful 
to me that evening than he had ever been in his life 
before. 

Rachel and I had our own little private cup of joy 
with which no stranger intermeddled. She listened 
with paling cheek, but not saying a word, when I related 
how the robbers struck me down and left me for dead 
in those dark unknown woods; but when I told the 
experience which followed, the strange sense of com- 
fort and peace that stole into my heart when lying 
there, bruised and bleeding, I saw the s constellation of 
the Dipper, and remembered her parting promise, she 
looked up with great wide eyes, in which the surprise 
of some wonderful, unlooked-for joy seemed suddenly 
kindling. 

"0, I remember that night," she exclaimed. "I 



88 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

was restless and couldn't sleep. A fear of something 
dreadful seemed to oppress me. I couldn't shake it off, 
but 1 thought a breath of fresh air might make me 
feel better and I got up and raised the window. As I 
leaned out I could see the Dipper, and I began to won- 
der if you were in trouble or danger that I had such a 
feeling. So J just put my head down on the window- 
sill and prayed; and then all the strange oppression 
seemed to slide right off of me like some heavy weight. 
0, Leander, do you think God really did hear my poor 
little foolish prayer and answer it?" 

u I know he did, Rachel," I answered, solemnly and 
earnestly. 

Two great tears rolled down Rachel's cheeks. Reach- 
ing out dumb hands of longing, her soul had at last 
touched the Invisible Father, and for one transcendent 
moment her whole being dissolved in awe-stricken bliss 
at the thought. 

The next day, in a private aside, I asked my grand- 
father if he knew Sam Toller was a Mason. 

" No; 1 ' he replied, nearly dropping his pipe in aston- 
ishment. u I don't believe it. There's no more harm 
in Sam than there is in a chip squirrel, but he's such an 
idle, shiftless fellow that there isn't a lodge in the State 
would take him in." 

" He gave the Master Mason's grip last night, and 
gave it to me correctly too." 

My grandfather looked nonplussed. 

" Then of course he must at some time or other have 
joined the order. Worse fellows than Sam Toller have 
been Masons before now, but I must say I am surprised." 

And my grandfather, whose good, easy, placid soul 
was seldom long astonished at anything, after a mo- 



MORE TALK -WITH MY GRAKDFATHER. 89 

ment's reflection took up the Canandaigua paper which 
had just arrived, and would have dismissed the subject 
if I had been willing to let him. 

" I haven't told you yet that this Methodist preacher, 
who, together with his wife, showed me such kindness, 
was a Mason," I remarked, feeling my way by slow de- 
grees to the point T wished to reach. 

"Ah !" and my grandfather looked interested. " Now, 
Leander, after such practical proof of its benefits, I 
hope you see that I was right in urging you to join the 
order. 11 

u But Mr. Hagan had renounced all connection with 
Masonry years before. He thinks it a bad thing, con- 
trary to the Bible. We had a long talk about it, and 
he made it very clear to my mind that the oaths and 
penalties at least, if nothing else about it, are entirely 
wrong." 

I spoke with a little concealed trepidation which I 
found was wholly unnecessary. My grandfather's faith 
in his favorite institution was much too strong to be 
thus easily disturbed. 

<k Good men don't always feel nor think alike, Le- 
ander," was his answer, as placid as a summer breeze. 
u We read somewhere in the Epistles that what a man 
thinks to be sin, to him it is sin. 1 never blame any 
one for acting up to his conscience, even when I know 
he is mistaken. I've always said myself that there 
were things in Masonry that 1 couldn't understand, nor 
bring myself to think are really right; but my idea 
about them is that they are relics of a barbarous age 
that will fall away in time. And besides I have known 
a great many honest, good men to become prejudiced 
against Masonry by joining a lodge where there was a 



90 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

great deal of profanity and hard drinking going on. 
Why, I've known lodges myself that any decent man, 
if he once got into, would want to clear out of as quick 
as he could. By a very natural mistake they blame 
Masonry for the sins of its individual members, for- 
getting that they might just as easily condemn Chris- 
tianity on the same grounds." 

It dimly occurred to me that a church composed 
mainly of drunkards and swearers was a strange anom- 
a\y I had not yet met with; but I was anxious to know 
my grandfather's opinion on another point. 

" If a member should divulge the secrets of the order, 
would he be punishable with death, according to the 
terms of his oath?" I asked. 

My grandfather, for the first time in all our discus- 
sions of the subject, had no answer ready. 

44 Why, Leander," he answered at last, " in the first 
place there is no officer in the lodge empowered to act 
as executioner, and in the second place it is not sup- 
posable that any member would so perjure himself as 
to disclose the secrets. In my understanding of things 
this is one great reason why these ancient penalties, 
that seem so unsuited to the spirit of the age, are still 
kept up, for human nature is so depraved that the oath, 
divested of these forms, might not have sufficient re- 
straining power over some. But why do you ask such 
a question?" 

I concluded, as the best answer I could give, to relate 
Mr. Hagan's story, to which my grandfather listened, 
his ruddy face fairly white with horror. 

"That was a fearful murder; perfectly awful. It 
makes my blood run cold to think of it," he said at 
last, after sitting for a moment in shocked silence. 



MORE TALK: WITH MY GRANDFATHER. iJl 

u But now that story, Leander, just proves what I have 
been saying. In a lodge where they are half heathen 
it stands to reason that their acts will be heathenish. 
If there are men among them that care no more for 
murdering a man than they do for felling an ox, they'll 
be likely enough to do it; only such a lodge doesn't 
represent Masonry any more than the men who stabbed 
infants in their mother's arms on St. Bartholomew's 
day represents Christianity." 

A reasoning so entirety satisfactory to my grand- 
father that, with a deep-drawn sigh for the depravity 
that made such deeds possible, he again took up his 
paper. 

I was by no means entirely convinced, but added to 
the seeming reason and fairness of what he had said was 
my reverent affection, almost more than filial, for the 
guardian of my fatherless boyhood, the patient, loving- 
counsellor of my maturer years. To suppose for a 
moment that he would advance, for mere persuasion's 
sake, arguments in which he did not himself thoroughly 
believe was to suppose an impossibility. Day and 
night would as soon change places as my grandfather 
in his stern honesty which by the way was the only 
thing stern about him seek to impose on even the 
credulity of a child. 

Elder Cushing's influence over Mark Stedman was of 
an altogether different kind. At the time I did not 
entirely understand it, for it was a plain instance of 
what is not uncommonly seen in the world, the higher 
nature held in complete possession and control by the 
lower one. Mark's peculiarly unworldly spirit had yet 
its weak points. He was ambitious, not for money 
he despised it; not for fame he despised that too, but 



92 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

none the less. he longed in secret to win that human 
recognition and sympathy of which fame is the mere 
outward symbol. And more than all, he was intensely 
curious, fond of prying into the unknown and unim- 
agined, hopeful, ardent, unsuspicious, with all the 
harmlessness of a dove, but none of the wisdom of a 
serpent. 

I was disappointed not to hear the story of his in- 
itiatory experience from his own lips, but he was now 
from home, having secured a tutorship somewhere in 
the vicinity of New York through the recommenda- 
tion of Elder Cashing, who was naturally not ill-pleased 
with the opportunity to aid his young friend and at the 
same time give him practical proof of Masonic influ- 
ence. Truth to tell, I had passed many disagreeable 
moments in reflecting on his probable state of mind 
when brought face to face with those terrible u obliga- 
tions," and was not at all surprised to hear from a lodge 
acquaintance that u Mark was a great spooney, who had 
given them more trouble than he was worth." 

" 1 thought we should be all night getting him 
through the first degree. He was just like an old 
bureau drawer that sticks and catches whichever way 
you pull it. Positively we shouldn't have got through 
by morning if we had stopped for all the work gener- 
ally done. But we skipped a few little things, nothing 
very important, omitted to save time and trouble; that 
was all." 

" Then I don't think Mark has been regularly initi- 
ated," said I, to whom this revelation of lodge tactics 
was rather startling 

" Oh, we asked lawyer Bacon about that. He said it 
was all right. Lodges very often shorten the work 



MARK A TROUBLESOME INITIATE. 93 

when lack of time or any other reason makes it neces- 
sary. And, as I said, we never should have got through, 
when we had to meet his objections at every step, and 
spend an hour trying to convince him that it would all 
be made right, before he would consent to go on, if we 
hadn't done some such way. But such milk-and-water 
chaps as Mark Stedman ain't of much use in the lodge. 
He'd better join the church and go to preaching. ' 

An opinion which. Elder Gushing, who had played so 
well the part of Mr. Worldly Wiseman to Mark's 
spiritual needs, did not appear to share In his zeal to 
make proselytes for the lodge he had induced him to 
take the three lower degrees in one night; a very com- 
mon device, let me explain, and one much resorted to 
when there were serious fears that the candidate's con- 
science would prove so inconveniently sensitive as to 
forbid his return to the lodge after taking the first de- 
gree, and if there afterwards remained the less easy 
task of pouring oil on the troubled waters of Mark's 
deeply disgusted soul, it was one to which the Elder 
was fully equal. He knew through long experience 
that such souls required very wily handling; that to 
laugh in a gentle, deprecatory fashion, and to say he 
was just like others, disappointed because Masonry did 
not reveal all its beauties at first sight; to descant on 
the divine grace of patience as needful in every searcher 
after truth, and hint at the existence of sublime and 
ineffable mysteries of wisdom, veiled in the lower de- 
grees, but opening up in ever widening vistas to the 
eyes of the faithful ones who refuse to be deterred from 
exploring the inner temple by the mass of seeming rub- 
bish encumbering its entrance, was by far the best meth- 
od of proceeding under those particular circumstances. 



94 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Rachel still adhered to her general role of silence on 
the subject, and as I took prudent care not to sa} r any- 
thing calculated to make her depart from it, her only 
allusion to the step taken by her brother came in the 
form of this very natural but inconvenient query: " 1 
want to know, Leander, what sort of doings they can 
have in Masonic lodges to send a man home at two 
o'clock in the morning looking like death, as they did 
Mark. He wasn't himself for a month after." 

While I could well imagine what a shock to every 
instinct of Mark's pure and high-minded nature the 
whole proceeding of initiation must have been, how 
could I answer Rachel's question without revealing 
what I had sworn "ever to conceal? 1 ' 

" Why don't you try to get some information out of 
,Mark? v I said, in a lame attempt to shirk the inquiry. 

" Exactly what I should have done," answered Rachel 
coolly, " if he hadn't been cross as a bear. I couldn't 
say a word to him about it without being snapped up. 
Now, Mark was never cross to me in his life before, and 
I must say I don't understand it. An institution so 
k divine ' as Masonry " (and here Rachel's lips took a 
slight curl) " ought to send a man home at a decent 
hour, and better instead of worse than he went." 

What could I do but have recourse to that standing 
argument made and provided for just such exigencies: 

u Oh, well, Rachel, Masonry is a matter women are 
not expected to understand." 

" I know one woman," returned Rachel, with a very 
decided snip of her scissors, u who is capable of under- 
standing a good many things she is not expected to." 

My only answer was a laugh, but in my secret soul 
I wished Rachel's assertion was not quite so true. 



SAM TOLLER AS A MASON. 95 

Why couldn't she be like my mother: a gentle, docile, 
trusting little woman, who never troubled her head 
about masculine doings in general, or those of the 
lodge in particular, any more than she did about the 
aberration of the planets. I felt vaguely dissatisfied 
with Rachel, and vexed with myself for the feeling. 
.Even now the hateful hiss of the serpent lying in wait 
to spoil the fair Eden of our mutual love was in my 
ears, and though an angel had stood in my path to warn 
me I h;id refused to heed the message. 

Sam Toller, in his new character of Mason, flourished 
greatly. That very morning the non-arrival of certain 
domestic necessaries having thrown the whole kitchen 
cabinet into confusion, I found him at the store, whither 
I was dispatched by the despairing and indignant Miss 
Loker to hasten his tardy movements (Joe being, as 
usual, out of the way when most wanted,) holding forth 
to a group of loungers on the beauties of the institu- 
tion. 

u Nobody shall speak a word agin it in my hearing," 
he was saying as I came up. " It's a divinely appointed 
thing. That's the way Elder Gushing talks, and I'll 
stand by what he says aginst the hull world. Why, 
Masonry is older than Solomon's temple, or the pyra- 
mids, or the U 0h, you shut up, Sam ; you never was 
a Mason," interrupted a skeptical bystander, at which 
Sam, catching sight of me, turned in aggrieved appeal. 

"You'll do me a favor, Leander Severns, to jest tell 
this gentleman whether I be or not." 

Actuated partly by the spirit of fun, I gave the re- 
quired testimony, which appeased Sam's wounded dig- 
nity so far that after casting a glance of withering con- 
tempt on the unlucky person who was now in the awk- 



96 HOLDE2ST WITH COEDS. 

ward predicament of being proved in the wrong, he pro- 
ceeded with his parable. 

kt She's the twin sister of Christianity, as you may 
say; the "- 

" Christianity's grandmother, you mean," put in the 
irreverent Joe, who sat kicking his heels against the 
molasses hogshead on which he had perched himself to 
listen to Sam's harangue. "According to your tell 
she's two or three thousand years the- oldest. You 
don't make your talk hang together, Sam." 

There was a general laugh, but Sam, " vowing he 
wouldn't stand sarce from nobody, least of all a boy 
like Joe," turned in great wrath on the latter, who ran 
and leaped and dodged, and finally made his escape 
through a rear door, Sam after him in a hopeless chase, 
being much too stout and lumberingly built to be any 
match for Joe, who was nearly as fleet of foot as the 
Ashael of Scripture. 

As I stood laughing at the absurd scene, it suddenly 
occurred to me how Joe's mysterious knowledge of 
Masonic secrets, hitherto such a baffling puzzle, could 
easily be accounted for. I knew the two had been much 
together, and that Sam should incautiously let them 
out to Joe was quite supposable. I was so certain that 
the bottom of the mystery was reached at last that I 
concluded to put an inquiry point blank to the latter, 
though I felt very doubtful about getting a satisfactory 
answer, for having now been at home an entire week I 
had ceased to be a hero in Joe's eyes. But when I ap- 
proached him on the subject I was agreeably astonished 
to find him disposed to be frank, even confidential. 

" You see, the fact is," and Joe, who was engaged 
like Pan of old in fashioning a flute, not out of a reed 



A MODERN PAN. 97 

from Eurotas, but the stem of a pumpkin vine, went on 
notching out the stops with great care; " Sam don't 
mean to let out the secrets, and if you asked him he'd 
say he didn't; but when he gets to talking they break 
out, without his knowing it, a? easy as water runs 
through a sieve. He don't tell the secrets right out, 
but he'll say things that anybody that's sharp can pick 
up and piece together and so find out a good deal. And 
I've been thinking for some time," added Joe, stopping 
in his work and looking serious, ''that you'd better 
give him a hint to be more careful. I'm afraid he may 
get into trouble. But I keep mum about everything 
he has let out to me. You needn't be afraid. Only if 
you say anything to him, don't let him know what I've 
told you. It would only make him mad." 

I promised, inwardly resolving to lose no time in 
warning Sam to be more mindful in future of his Ma- 
sonic requirements. And Joe, having ended his revela- 
tions, which made me the more uneasy from their vague 
and indefinite character, applied his lips to the primi- 
tive wind instrument before mentioned, and blew a 
most un-Panlike strain." 

Half an hour later, had I been gifted with clairvoy- 
ant vision, I might have seen the two, their difference 
of the morning happily forgotten, engaged in close con- 
ference, much interrupted by sundry chuckles on Sam's 
part, and perfect convulsions of smothered laughter on 
Joe's. 




CHAPTER XII. 

A FEW MASONIC PUZZLES. 

ACHEL mid I were married one fair 
Autumn day that seemed to have gath- 
ered into itself all the ripeness and glory 
of the summer that had fled a day like 
an embodied Psalm-tune. And the world 
lay all before us, young, ignorant, untried 
souls; in the mysterious economy of divine 
law, twain no longer, but one flesh. 

We set up housekeeping as happy as any pair 
of robins that ever rented an apple tree, and as full of 
abounding hope for the morrow. We had plenty of 
friends, and not an enemy that we knew of; we had 
youth and health, and implicit faith in one another; 
what else could we want more? Had the question 
been put to me I should have answered, " Nothing;" 
and Rachel, covering up the unsatisfied longings of her 
soul with all the little joyful cares of a newly wedded 
wife, would very likely have said the same. 

Brownsville was a prosperous village not far from 
the lake-shore of northwestern New York, a peace- 
able, law-abiding community, where the high-handed 
crimes that shock newspaper readers of to-day were 
utterly unheard of, and people went to bed at night 
without bolting their doors. -Most of the inhabitants 
were of New England birth, and had brought with 



A FEW MASONIC PUZZLES. 9 

them all the thrift and forehandedness indigenous to 
the soil of the Pilgrims. My grandfather's family, 
as also the Stedman's, came from a quiet old town near 
Boston, which had given a Governor to the State, to 
say nothing of lawyers, clergymen and legislators, who 
had further distinguished its annals, ancKn whose ranks 
Mark Stedman might have stood, had not Destiny 
seemingly blocked his way by decreeing at the outset 
an altogether different life. 

But like all noble souls he had the seeds of victory 
within him. The rough labor of the farm hardened 
muscles and sinews, and the long winter evenings 
passed in solitary wrestling with his books, devoloped 
a sturdy self-relianco worth more than all the discipline 
of the universities. And thus Mark Stedman had 
grown up as true an offshoot of Puritan thought and 
culture as if he had walked all his life under the 
shadowy elms of his New England birthplace. 

Sam Toller hailed from New Hampshire, but though 
of genuine Yankee stock, he was, as we have seen, a 
a degenerate plant, so far as industry and faculty for 
getting ahead was concerned. But after all, Sam had 
plenty of faculty of a certain kind; his very laziness 
and shiftlessness, I am inclined to think, were nothing 
but their Yankee opposites turned wrong side out. And 
as no woman had ever been found insane enough to 
unite her fortune with his, he managed, in the absence 
of any family to support, to get along very well, that 
especial Providence which is said to u watch over the 
lame and the lazy " not being remiss in its kindly care 
of Sam Toller. 

The first chance I could get to privately remind him 
of his Masonic oath to secrecy I took care to improve, 



100 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

but it required all the tact of which I was master 
neither to betray Joe as my informant in this matter, 
nor give mortal offense to Sam himself, who was at first 
inclined to take in high dudgeon the charge of having 
even unwittingly betrayed any of the secrets. 

k% Wall, yeVe kinder hurt my feelings, Leander," he 
said at last, rather more amicably. *" J vow, I never 
thought of such a thing as lettin'out anything I hadn't 
orter." 

"Oh, well; you never meant to, Sam," I answered, 
soothingly. " But the queerest thing about it is why 
you've never let us know before that you were a Mason.'* 

Sam scratched his head reflectively for an instant, 
before replying. 

pt Ye see there wan't no lodge in the place where I 
lived afore I came to Brownsville. Now you go where 
there ain't no lodge and stay a dozen years and ye'll 
a'most forget ye ever was a Mason. But come to a 
place like this where there's a lodge wide awake and 
progressing and all yer old feelin's begin to siir. That's 
natur' now. And then Elder Cushing's talk when he 
preached the funeral sermon for yer Uncle Jerry kinder 
stirred 'em up more. That's natur' agin, for I thought 
a sight of yer Uncle Jerry." 

And Sam heaved a befitting sigh. 

I felt satisfied with an explanation so reasonable, and 
allowed him to depart without further questioning.. 
The whole subject of Masonry was so involved with 
wearisome and perplexing pros and cons, that I hardly 
knew what to think. For on the one hand were there 
not general principles of virtue and morality set forth 
in the charges and lectures, to which Socrates himself 
eould not have objected? truisms that were old as the 



A FEW MASONIC PURZLES. 101 

fact of human existence, and just as indisputable? 
And on the other hand were there not many things 
about it that even my grandfather, with all his venera- 
tion for the institution, found it easier to excuse than 
defend? It was a relief to think that now Rachel and 
I were married, 1 could fulfill my resolve to Mrs. Hagan, 
and tacitly drop all these troubfesome questions by the 
very easy and simple process of never appearing at a 
lodge meeting! 

Mark was not at the wedding, but gained a brief re- 
lease in the latter part of November, and took Rachel 
and me by surprise, walking in just as the table was set 
for tea. 

Of course he had much to tell us, about his school 
and divers matters of interest pertaining to the great 
world in general, whose distant pulse-beats were felt so 
faintly in Brownsville. In truth we were all proud of 
Mark. He was the scholar of the family, of whom the 
minister, and the school committee, and, in short, all 
those village dignitaries supposed to have peculiar in- 
sight into the destinies of the rising generation, had 
prophesied great things from his very cradle, while it 
had been settled at many sewing circles and Sunday 
noon conclaves that he would certainly make a preach- 
er; the fact that he was " serious," in the common re- 
ligious phrase of that day, seeming to form some solid 
basis for the general confidence. Mark's naturally 
sweet and humble spirit was not spoiled by the more 
discriminating praise of the intellectual circles in 
which his lot was now cast. He came home as ready 
to shake hands with Sam Toller as if he had not act- 
ually had the honor at some school celebration of 
shaking hands with Governor DeWitt Clinton himself 1 



102 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

Sam, by the way, still took special delight in gather- 
ering around him, at every convenient opportunity, a 
crowd of village loafers and small boys to whom he 
would hold forth by the hour together, or at least so 
long as their patience lasted, in a similar strain to that 
recorded in the previous chapter; while Joe, who 
usually contrived to be roosting near, would intersperse 
a running fire of witticisms, to the great displeasure of 
Sam, and the equally high delight of the audience, 
whose generally un- Masonic character may easily be 
inferred from its material as given above. And the 
very next day Mark and I happened to be eye-witnesses 
to one of these scenes. 

Sam, not unlike some more distinguished Masonic 
orators, thought nothing of going back several thousand 
years in search of shining examples wherewith, to 
glorify the craft. He was now boldly averring that 
Adam was not only the first man but the first Mason, 
at which Joe elevated his eyebrows portentously. 

"Phew! what a jolly time old Father Adam must 
have had with only Eve to play l cowan and eaves- 
dropper.' And how about his Masonic apron, Sam? 
Oh, I forgot; he wore one of fig-leaves, didn't he? Ex- 
cuse me for interrupting." 

And Joe subsided once more into the character of an 
attentive and humble listener. 

Mark was biting his lips with suppressed laughter, 
for he saw another listener of whom neither Sam nor 
Joe were aware no less a personage than Elder Gush- 
ing himself, it being in the public room of the tavern, 
a most important institution in those pre-railroad 
times, where all the news, local and political, were dis- 
cussed over mugs of flip with more or less ardor and 



A FEW MASONIC PUZZLES. 103 

interest, that this little scene took place. The Elder 
having some business with the landlord had gone into 
a private room to transact it, and now stepped out just 
in time to hear both statement and commentaiy. 

u My friend," he said, clearing his throat and speak- 
ing to Sam with a condescending smile, u I fear you are 
meddling with matters too high ior you. Masons can 
help the order best, not by talking about it but by living 
up to its principles. Yet the divine truths of Masonry 
being eternal and given to man long before they were 
embodied in set forms, while its symbols are old as na- 
ture herself, it follows that in a certain sense all the 
wise and great of past ages may be classed in the order. 
The precepts of Masonry,' 1 added the Elder, turning 
from Sam and making his remarks general, ^were 
doubtless communicated to our first father, and thus 
Adam may unquestionably be called the first Mason." 

And having thus cleverly rescued the whole subject 
from the hands of the zealous but indiscreet Sam, Elder 
Gushing came forward to greet Mark, whom he had not 
seen before since his arrival. 

The low-toned conversation which followed I did not 
hear, but Mark himself unconsciously supplied the key 
to this and many subsequent talks with his minister, 
by abruptly inquiring on the last night of his stay: 

"Leander, did youVyer think you would like to take 
the upper degrees in Masonry? 1 ' 

" Mark," said I, facing round on him, " I wouldn't 
go through such a torn-fool exhibition again as I did on 
the night I was made a Master Mason for all the wis- 
dom of Solomon. I never in my life felt so thoroughly 
degraded as when I lay on the lodge floor shamming 
Hiram Abiff. 19 And now, Mark, as you are more learned 
than I, pray tell me where Masons get that story ? Not 



NOTE 19. "We readily recognize In Hiram Abiff, one of the Grand Masters of 
Freemasons: the Osiris of the Egyptians, the Mithras of the Persians, the Bac- 
chus of the Greeks, the Dionysius of the Fraternity of Artificers, and the Atys 
of the Phrygians, whose passion, death and resurrection were celebrated by 
these people respectively. For many apes and everywh re Masons have cele- 
brated the death of Hiram Abiff." Piersou's Traditions^ p. 240. 



104 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

in the Bible, surely; and I've looked all through the 
Apocrypha, and taken down Josephus on purpose to see, 
and not a hint of it can I find anywhere. Catch me 
believing that Hiram was murdered by three ruffians 
because he refused to give them the Master's word, and 
tumbled into a grave under an acacia tree, and then 
raised to life again by Solomon on the five points of 
fellowship -after he had been dead fifteen days so that 
the flesh slipped from the bones! Sam Toller's toughest 
yarns wouldn't be a circumstance to swallow beside it." 

"Elder Gushing admits that there is no such story 
in any of the ancient writers," answered Mark. "He 
says the true light in which to regard the legend is that 
of a pure myth, whose origin is lost in the obscurity of 
past ages; but which, as used in the lodge to-day, has 
a most important symbolical meaning, as typifying the 
struggle and final triumph of light over darkness, life 
over death, and good over evil in the final millennium 
of the world.'' 

"Oh, well, Mark, I am not mystical and poetical 
like you; I am plain and practical and don't see any of 
these superfine meanings. But I do see one thing 
why it hasn't disappointed 20 you as it has me." 

"Oh, Leander,"' said Mark, eagerly, "I was disap- 
pointed, only the word does not begin to express what 
I felt. I was almost crazy, I verily believe, with cha- 
grin and mortification, it was all so different from what 
I. expected. I told Elder Gushing that I would never 
go near the lodge again, and I thoroughly meant it. 
But he says if 1 will only have patience to go on and 
take the ineffable degrees the things that trouble me so 

NOTE 20. "It is one of the most beautiful, but at the same time most ab- 
struse doctrines of the science of Masonic symbolism, that the Mason is ever to 
be in the search of truth, but is never to find it. And this is intended to teach 
the humiliating but necessary lesson, that the knowledge of the nature of God, 
and of man's relation to him, which knowledge constitutes divine truth, can 
never be acquired in this \\.tQ."Mackey'8 Ritualist, p. 106. 



A FEW MASONIC PUZZLES. 105 

will all be explained; that it is quite natural 1 should 
feel dissatisfied now, for it is just as if I had read only 
Leviticus- and Deuteronomy and knew nothing about 
the rest of the Bible. He says the ineffable degrees are 
to the others what the gospel is to the law, interpret- 
ing their hidden meanings, and even throwing light on 
sonle of the difficult passages in Revelations and the 
Epistles of St. John. And he is a member of the Lodge 
of Perfection himself; he ought to know," added Mark, 
simply. 

I was silent, for what was I that I should dispute 
what Elder Gushing said? 

INow. if any reader wonders that Mark Stedman 
should have been willing, even on the .strength of his 
pastor's persuasions, to search farther into Masonic 
mysteries in the face of continual disappointment, 1 
can only say that on some souls they act like an intox- 
icating drug, and this was the case with Mark. Every 
bitter waking from his dream found him like the opium 
eater, more than ever under the spell of the enchanting 
delusion. Every failure to find what he sought but . 
whetted his hope that farther on wonderful secrets 
awaited him, shining jewels of truth to rejoice his soul 
forever, hidden treasures of wisdom for time and eter- 
nity. 

Oh, Mark. Mark! turning away from the green 
pastures and still waters of Christ's blessed salvation, 
what shall be said of the so-called shepherd who lured 
you on? 

A few days afterwards I was accosted by Joe with the 
inquiry: 

4 'Have you said anything to Sam yet?" 



106 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

" I just spoke to him and advised him to be more 
careful. Why?" 

"Oh, nothing; it's no affair of mine, of course," 
answered Joe, with the virtuous air of a person not 
disposed to put his fingers unwarrantably into any- 
body's pie but his own; " only I thought it might be a 
little awkward for Sam if they should ever get wind of 
it in the lodge. And Sam is a good fellow enough; I 
don't like the idea of his getting into any trouble." 

The foregoing is a specimen of divers dark hints by 
which, without clearly asserting anything in particular, 
Joe had managed for some time past to keep me on 
pins, metaphorically speaking. 




CHAPTER XIII. 

MASONIC BONDAGE SAM TOLLER'S AFFAIRS. 

N spite of much persuasion, mingled with 
good-humored bantering, I persisted in 
absenting myself entirely from thelodgei 
until one day I received notice of an 
extra meeting of special importance, at 
which my presence was imperatively de- 
manded. Accordingly I said to Rachel, 
er sapper, 

'I am going to the lodge to-night. They 
say it is an important meeting, and I really don't know 
but I ought to attend, at least now and then." 

" Which one of your duties, as a man and a citizen, 
will suffer most if you stay away?" asked Rachel, dry- 
ly, as she stood rinsing cups and saucers at the sink. 

u Don't be foolish, Rachel. You know I hardly spend 
an evening away from home." 

u Now, Leander," and Rachel set down the cup she 
was wiping and spoke earnestly, u I am not one of 
these silly wives who are miserable if they can't have 
every atom of their husband's time and attention. If 
this was a public meeting, and the business to be 
transacted involved public. interest, I would say, 'Go; 
by all means.'' 1 should despise myself if I wanted to 
keep you from doing your duty." 



108 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

" But supposing it is a duty, a solemn and bounden 
duty, for me to go to-night.'' 

a l can suppose that,'' said Rachel, slowly; "but 
have I not a right to know what makes it your duty? 
How can we be really and truly one with secrets be- 
tween us? I read somewhere that a secret between 
married people was like a slow poison to affection." 

u Must be very slow indeed, Rachel. There's Deacon 
Winship and his wife, and Dr. and Mrs. Starr devoted 
couples, and they've been married over a quarter of a 
century. Deacon Winship and Dr. Starr are both 
Masons, you know." 

Rachel made no answer. She was setting up dishes 
and possibly did not hear me; but she had by no means 
done with the subject, for when she had just put away 
the last plate and hung the towel on the rack to dry, 
she again resumed it. 

u Leander, you remember when the Freemasons laid 
the corner-stone of the new court-house. Well, now, 
in front of the procession, carrying the Bible, walked 
a man whom I know to be a profane swearer. Side by 
side with Deacon Winship I saw Colonel Perkins, a 
hard drinker, and people say that he breaks the seventh 
Commandment. I could name others in that proces- 
sion, some of the hardest characters in town, but they 
were walking on equal footing with the rest. I never 
want to see you in such company, Leander." 

Now as I happened to be a spectator of this ven r 
procession and a witness of these very same facts, I 
could only take refuge in the old threadbare argument; 

" But, Rachel, there were good men there." 

" Then am I to suppose that you would have no ob- 
jection to seeing me in a procession, side by side witl] 



MASOKIC BONDAGE. 109 

women of known bad character, if only there was a 
sufficient sprinkling of good women there to throw over 
it a mantle of general respectability?" inquired Rachel, 
with dry sarcasm. 

"Oh, but that is a little different. Men and women 
are not alike, you know," I answered^, in the great 
scarcity of original arguments making use of one that 
I had better have let alone at least when arguing with 
Kachel. 

" Why not, Leander," she asked, quickly; "when it- 
is a plain question of morals I believe both sexes stand 
before their Grod on the same plane. Are the Ten Com- 
mandments less binding on men than women?" 

" Why, of course not. 1 ' 

" Then don't tell me that a man, because he is a man, 
can touch uncleanness and not be defiled, while a 
woman, because she is a woman, cannot come within a 
stone's throw of it without risk of pollution. But to 
come back to the question our talk started from; what 
maizes it your duty to go to-night?" 

Should I tell Rachel that the notice I had received 
was actually a summons 41 which no Mason could disre- 
gard without incurring the displeasure of the secret 
power set over him, and risking such punishment as 
'Masonic law might see best to inflict? That I, a free- 
man, with the old free Puritan blood in my veins, the 
blood of men that had marched to victory with Crom- 
well and carried their hatred of priestly and kingly 
tyranny over the seas; that had fought at Bunker Hill 
and starved at Valley Forge, was in reality no freeman 
at all, but a bond slave, bound hand and foot to a des- 
potic tribunal, whose mandate I did not dare disobey? 
What remained for me but to say, with an injured air: 

NOTE 21 "A ' due summons' from the lodge or Grand Lodge is obligatory 
upon him; should he refuse obedience he will be disgracefully expelled fiom the 
society with public marks of ignominy that can never be erased." Morris's 
Dictionary, Art. Authority. 



110 HOLDEtf WITH CORDS. 

"Now, Rachel; I should think you might trust me 
a little better than this. I don't dictate to you about 
your duty and you mustn't to me about mine." 

Rachel "dictated " no more. But it is easy to see 
that such a conversation between a newly-married hus- 
band and wife can hardly tend to mutual agreement 
and concord. Rachel's feelings were hurt and she 
showed it not by tears or any sharp retort, but by 
utter silen ce . . To her brave, open nature, such shirking 
of plain, honest questions, was contemptible; she could 
neither understand nor quietly let it drop as a thing 
that did not concern her all which characteristics I 
will pause to remark are, for very obvious reasons, ex- 
tremely inconvenient in the wives of Masonic husbands- 

As a result of this meeting of the lodge, (which I of 
course attended in obedience to the Master Mason's 
oath, which among its other easy and modest require- 
ments bound me to " obey all signs and summons given, 
handed, sent or thrown from the hand of a brother or 
the body of a lawfully constituted lodge. 1 ') I might 
have been seen the next day in close conference with 
Sam Toller. Two lines of a certain patriotic ditty, very 
popular in its day, 

' ' The British yoke and the Gallic chain, 
Was urged upon our necks In vain,' 1 

lustily sung, guided me to the " corner lot" where he 
was cutting wood, and seating myself on a great hicko- 
ry log, while Sam, nowise loth, did the same, I un- 
folded to him my errand, which was simply this: 

Joe, after all, was right in his hints. Sam's easj T - 
going tongue had been allowed to wag too long, and 
though the lodge had been slow in taking cognizance 
of the matter, a vague rumor that lie was " free with 



SAM TOLLER'S AFFAIRS. Ill 

the secrets " had got about. Hence the meeting and 
the special summons to me, for as Sam lived at my 
grandfather's, having been engaged to do the general 
chores, it was not unreasonably presumed that I might 
give some information on the subject, though, as the 
reader has seen, I knew absolutely nothing except the 
few facts elicited from Joe. But many in the lodge 
and not a few outside held the opinion that Sam was 
never a regularly-made Mason, and certainly grave 
doubts might justly be entertained of such newly- 
fledged claims considered in the light of his previous 
reticence, which was, to say the least, marvelously out 
of keeping with Sam's ordinary characteristics. 

But how to shut his mouth! This was the vexed 
question that agitated Brownsville lodge. 

Finally one of the older members, considered a very 
Ahithophel for wise counsel, advised the brethren to 
adopt a course which he had known to be pursued in a 
very similar case by a lodge in Rhode Island. Induce 
Sam Toller either by persuasions or threats to take the 
Entered Apprentice oath. This would place him un- 
equivocally under Masonic law and probably check 
further indiscretions of speech. 

Interest in Sam and a desire to stand his friend now 
that his garrulousness seemed likely to get him into 
trouble with the lodge, made me willing to take upon 
myself the task of bringing about this desirable result. 
Hence the interview. 

Sam, however, took the proposal very coolly. 

u Wall, I dunno; I'll think about it," he said, after 
he had chewed a sprig of checkerberry for a moment 
in silence. " If I've jined once what's the use of my 
jining over again?'' 



112 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

" To tell the truth, Sam, I don't feel sure about that. 
Have you any objections to letting me test you?" 

Sam grinned, but u had no objections/' and would 
have passed the test very well, but unluckily gave the 
password for the Entered Apprentice Degree as Jachin, 
when it should have been Boaz, and in the Fellow Craft 
as Boaz, when it should have been Jachin, and also 
transposed the grips. While this might have been a 
mere lapse of memory on Sam's part, as he had always 
professed to have become a Mason in some very 
remote era of his existence, it naturally gave some 
color to the suspicion that he had gained his knowledge 
outside of the lodge-room. 

" Sam," said I, severely, " this is a serious matter, 
and it would be better for you to tell the truth at once. 
If you are only playing a trick; if you have got hold 
of the secrets someway and are passing yourself off as 
a Mason when you are not, why, it is all the better for 
you, if you will only own up. For a Mason to betray 
the secrets of the order is considered a high crime in 
the lodge, and punishable by the severest penalties 
Masonic law can inflict." 

" Wall, now, the wust thing, I take it, that the law 
of the land can do to a man, is to hang him by the neck 
till he is dead,'' coolly replied Sam; "maybe the Ma- 
sonic law is su'tMn' like that." 

It was impossible to guess how much or how little 
Sam meant. I was silent, but shivered inwardly under 
the weight of an awful remembrance. 

Sam was silent too for a moment and then brought 
his hand down on my shoulder with a resounding clap. 

" I'll own up, honor bright. I never was inside a 



SAM TOLLER'S AFFAIRS. 113 

lodge in my life. Now how d'ye suppose I ever got 
hold of the secrets?" 

" I can't imagine, Sam." 

u Wall, now," said Sam, speaking in a slow, ruminat- 
ing fashion, " supposin' 1 was on intimate tarms, as ye 
may say, with a Mason that got drunk off and on. 
Couldn't I get 'em so? "Or, supposin' I overheard some 
talk between two Masons where one was a trying to 
post up the other in matters pertaining to the lodge. 
Couldn't I get 'em easy that way?" 

" Why yes, Sam; only listening is rather mean busi- 
ness." 

u Or suppose," continued Sam, not heeding my re- 
mark, but going on complacently with his brilliant 
little fictions, u I was set to sweep out a room that had 
been used for a lodge, and I should come across some 
papers with the secrets all writ out on 'em jist as they 
were employed by the members when their memories 
needed a little refreshin', couldn't I pick 'em up and 
etow 'em away in my pocket for contemplation in 
leisure hours?" 

u Have you got them now, Sam?*' I inquired, rather 
skeptically. 

u Haint told ye yet that I ever clapped eyes on the 
fust thing of that nater." 

And Sam chewed checkerberry leaves with exasper- 
ating coolness. 

" Now, Sam, I might as well tell you that the lodge 
is pretty well stirrec^ up over this matter. You had 
better take my advice, and if you are prudent in future 
all the fuss will blow over. But really, without any 
fooling, how did you get hold of our secrets, anyway?" 

" Ax me no questions, Leander Severns, and I'll tell 



114 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

you no lies," answered Sam, with a curious smile. 
" But about jining the lodge, as ye~*re so kind as to be 
particular sot on't, why, I'll think it over." 

But Sum Toller's name never adorned the roll of 
membership in Brownsville lodge. One or two morn- 
ings after there was no one but Joe to do the daily 
chores at my grandfather's, while a visit to the chamber 
where he slept demonstrated the fact that he had been 
gone all night. 




CHAPTER XIV. 

A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE NOT OF 76. SAM 
TOLLER MISSING. 

F I really thought any harm had come 
to Sam, said my grandfather," as he 
stirred his cup of rye coffee rather un- 
easily, " I couldn't rest till the neigh- 
borhood had been searched; but he was 
such a queer fish, it would be just like him 
to take himself off on the sly and let no- 
body know. I only wish I could be certain 
nothing had happened to him." 
But Miss Loker, in whose good graces Sam had 
never stood very high, rather scoffed at my grandfather's 
fears. For her part she thought it was a good riddance, 
and as for hunting for him, they might as well hunt for 
last year's swallows. 

^ And Sam didn't drink. He couldn't have stepped 
off the bridge and got drowned like Homer Sprague." 
put in my mother. 

As Sam bore the character of a kind of half tramp 
from whom erratic leave-takings were to be expected, 
his first advent in Brownsville having been on much 
the same sudden and unexplained order as his going, 
his disappearance was more of a puzzle to us than an 
actual anxiety. He had, in truth, one of those unsettled, 



116 HOLDER WITH CORPS. 

roving natures, to be found more or less in all national- 
ities, and perhaps as often among a staid New England 
population as anj^where, though in the simple times of 
which 1 am writing, when the yearly rush of summer 
travel was a thing yet to come in with the age of steam 
and telegraphs, we had not earned our present reputa- 
tion of being about the most restless and change-loving 
of any civilized people 011 the face of the earth. 

"I'm sure its clear money in my pocket to have Sam 
go," said my grandfather, draining his coffee cup, 
though with an air that was far from being exactly 
satisfied. 'He had good living here and more wages by 
half than the work he did was worth; he's welcome to 
better himself if he can." 

Joe alone, of all the family, proffered no remarks, 
but on getting up from the table he slipped three or 
four doughnuts into his pocket, together with a large 
piece of shortcake, and coolly appropriated the two 
boiled eggs that were left in the dish. Joe's appetite 
was always good, even for a growing boy, but so ex- 
tensive a lunch as this made Miss Loker stop short in 
her task of clearing off the table and even startled my 
mother into saying, 

" What on earth can yon need of so much luncheon, 
Joe?" 

Here my grandfather roused up: u Let the boy have 
all he wants, Belinda. Nobody shall be pinched for 
victuals in my house." 

And Joe left the table in triumph with his spoils. 

I could not help believing in the reasonableness of 
the general theory; at the same time a thought of poor 
Gus Peters, whose blood unavenged save by that name- 
less Nemesis which has tracked the footsteps of every 



SAM TOLLER MISSING. 11? 

murderer since Cain the earth had drank in as quietly 
as the summer showers and made 110 sign, sent through 
me an involuntary shiver. But I kept it to myself, 
there being not the smallest basis for any absurd fear 
of a similar fate for Sam, as the few random threats 
uttered in the lodge meeting had been speedily silenced 
by the calmer counsels, which finally prevailed. I 
followed my grandfather into his own private room 
four- windowed, freshly-sanded, with a great solemn- 
looking secretary in one corner and a massive silver 
watch ticking away on the mantle just as it had ticked 
in my childish ears, with its accents of awe and mystery, 
like a voice out o the unknown and the infinite, a 
prophecy without words, dimly revealing the heart's 
own secret of joy or sorrow, solemn or glad, as it 
measured off the pulse-beats of a passing life, or ticked 
away the happy moments before the bridal. 0, my 
grandfather's old watch ! Though it long since went 
the way of all mortal things, heaven keep its memory. 
' The fact is," said I, for I had followed him into 
this, his own sacred and peculiar sanctum, for no es- 
pecial reason except to tell him what c<fuld not well be 
revealed to the un-Masonic ears of my mother and Miss 
Loker; u Sam's foolish tongue has got him into trouble. 
He's never been a Mason, he confessed that; but some- 
how he's got hold of a good many of the secrets and 
li:is been pretty free with them. Joe has been hinting 
about it all along, but I never paid much attention tc 
him till the other night, when I was summoned before 
the lodge to tell what I knew of the matter, which was 
precious little. But I talked to Sam and told him if he 
would only take the first degree and be prudent in 
future it would stop the fuss. He seemed quite willing 



118 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

to do so I thought. He can't have cleared out to get 
rid of joining? That ivould be a joke. 1 ' 

u But it may be so, after all," said my grandfather. 
u You see an idle, shiftless, good-for-nothing fellow like 
Sam can't appreciate the advantages of Masonry. Its 
rules and regulations seem perfect slavery to him. He 
don't want to be industrious, and diligent, and self- 
denying, and all these other things that Masonry 
teaches. And it's just so in religion. People don't 
want to join the church because they know if they do 
they'll have to give up a good deal they don't want to 
give up, and practice a good many disagreeable duties 
they'd rather let slide. And in my view nobody is any 
better for being forced into a good institution. And I 
don't hold either to filling up the lodge with members 
of all sorts by cajoling and persuading them in. It's 
bad policy. Time and again that plan has been tried 
in the church and always with the same result weak- 
ness and corruption. And the lodge ranks next to the 
church in sacredness and importance. If a man joins 
either he's got to rise to the level of its claims upon 
him or sink belsw it, and if he does the last it's worse 
for him and worse for the institution." 

And my grandfather, sublimely unconscious of any 
inconsistency between his views, as stated above, and 
the persistent "cajoling and persuading" by which 
Mark Stedman and I had been drawn into the lodge, 
proceeded to hunt for his spectacles and found them on 
the top of his head. 

" Well, well," he said, with a placid laugh at his own 
absent-mindedness, "I'm growing old and forgetful. 
It's a good thing for your mother and me, Leander, 
that we've got you and Rachel settled down close be- 



SAM TOLLER MISSING. 119 

side us to keep things straight. I don't know what 
either of us would do without you." 

For though my mother had at first wanted Rachel 
and I to set up housekeeping in one end of my grand- 
father's house, which was a large and capacious one for 
those days, thus thinking to keep us as near her as 
possible, my grandfather himself had refused his con- 
sent to any such arrangement. 

" But it will seem so lonesome," faltered my mother. 

" We've got Joe yet. He'll keep us from stagnating," 
answered my grandfather, with a twinkle of his eye. 
" Young folks ought to have a home of their own, if 
its only one room with a cup and plate between'them, 
and the sooner they begin the better." 

Accordingly Rachel and 1 did have u a home of our 
own," only divided from my grandfather's by a narrow 
lane; one of the cosiest, quietest nooks of peace, with 
trees and grass, and a bubbling brook not far off, to 
make it beautiful when the long summer days should 
come, bright with unknown hopes } r et to be, crowning 
with glory and fragrance the end of our first year of 
wedded life. 

" Leander," called out my mother from the kitchen 
door just as 1 was going off. " Do see if you can't find 
Joe. These hickory sticks are too long for the oven." 

To ferret out Joe from the multiplicity of his hiding 
places was a serious task. But a bright thought struck 
me as my eye fell on Sport, curled up on the door mat. 
Remembering his innocent treachery on a former oc- 
casion I whistled to him to come to me. 

" Sport," I said, " where's Joe? Find Joe." 

The intelligent little animal pricked up his ears and 
looked questioningly at me, but on repeated reitera- 



120 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

tions of the command seemed to comprehend, and 
trotted off in the direction of the barn. But in vain I 
called Joe's name, while Sport smelled round in circles, 
a bewildered expression on his brown face, till just as 
I was about to give up the search he planted his fore- 
feet on the bottom round of the ladder leading to the 
hayloft, and throwing his head back began to bark with 
all his might at a certain corner way up in the sweet, 
fragrant darkness. 

I followed the clue, inspired by a sudden recollection 
of the time when Joe, wishing to enjoy the fascinating 
History of Henry, Earl of Westmoreland, undisturbed 
by any -distracting calls from the outside world, had 
made unto himself a species of cubby-house in this 
identical corner, protecting it from prying eyes by 
walls of hay on three sides, while a knothole above 
gave light, and a store of nuts and apples providently 
laid in, satisfied the cravings of his youthful stomach; 
for with Joe, as with most boys of fifteen, mind and 
matter stood in very intimate relations. 

Sure enough, a few investigating pokes in the hay 
revealed not only Joe. which did not surprise me in the 
least, but Sam Toller also; which latter discovery, it 
is needless to say, did surprise me exceedingly. Sam 
had his mouth full of doughnuts and cheese and could 
not conveniently reply at once to my ejaculation of 
astonishment, but Joe was equal to the occasion and 
preserved an unabashed front. 

" I haint done anything I am ashamed of yet,' 1 he 
said, sturdily, u or hadn't just as leaves grandfather 
would know as not. Sam come to me yesterday and 
said he'd got into trouble with the Masons and had got 
to leave Brownsville, but he didn't know where to go, 



A DECLARATION" OF INDEPENDENCE. 121 

and I told him I'd fix him a place in the barn where he 
could stay till he decided what to do. That's the long 
and short of it, and if you want to be so mean as to 
tell of us, you can." 

<k Well, Joe, 1 ' said I, as severely as I could consider- 
ing my inclination to laugh, " mother sent me to find 
you and you'd better see what she wants done; if you 
don't, somebody else may be along that will let more 
out than I shall. It will be better if you will just go 
peaceably off and leave Sam and me to ourselves for 
a while.' 

Joe looked at first as if he was half inclined to stay 
at all hazards, but thought it best, on the whole, to take 
the hint; and thus Sam and I were left alone, to make 
the best we could of the rather comical situation. 

" Ye want to know what I T m here for;" began Sam, 
who had disposed of his doughnuts and was now free 
to talk. " I ain't no fool, Leander Severns, but I might 
ha' kept on fooling you till doomsday if I'd been a 
mind to risk having my throat cut across and my 
tongue torn out by the roots and my body drowned in 
Niagary river. I knowed the game wan't wuth the 
candle, so 1 jest owned up." 

"I thought you had too much sense, Sam, to be 
frightened by such bug-a-boo stories." 

" Ye needn't go to pulling the wool over my eyes," 
answered Sam scornfully, '' telling me Masons swear to 
things they don't mean. I know too much for ye. I 
s'pose ye'd try to make me believe next, if ye could, 
that ye never had a rope round yer neck and a blinder 
over yer eyes and made to march round the lodge-room 
from East to West with jest yer shirt to yer back. I 
s'pose ye'll tell me now that ye was never knocked 



!22 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

down by three ruffians and tumbled into a blanket and 
raised up again after ye'd laid in the grave fifteen days. 
I don't suppose such wonderful things ever happened 
to you. Oh, no!" 

And Sam chuckled to himself in a highly provoking 
manner. 

This was certainly pressing me hard, and with Sam, 
as with Mr. Hawaii, there seemed to be no method of 
defense open but the very safe, if not remarkably 
original one, of silence, previously spoken of as the 
standing resort of distressed Masons when thus driven 
to the wall. 

"But about jining, as ye kindly axed me to, 7 ' went on 
Sam, who saw his advantage and had no conscience 
but to push it, u I can see through a ladder with any 
man. They think if they get me once safe in I won't 
dare let nothing out; but I tell ye Sam Toller runs his 
neck into no such noose not if he knows it. And 
another thing I'll tell ye for yer information: you and 
the rest of the Masons have let out inore'n I have by a 
long chalk." 

A certain inspired declaration reads thus: u Verily T 
say unto you, there is nothing hid which shall not be 
revealed, nor kept secret but that it should come 
abroad." And of nothing on earth is this more true 
than of Masonry, which not infrequently, by the very 
pains it takes to keep its mysteries from the vulgar 
eye, unwittingly betrays thorn. The fact is, a system 
of organized secrecy will surely find, sooner or later, 
that even " the stars in their courses fight against 
Sisera;" that the whole economy of the universe in 
general is in some mysterious way opposed to letting 
one small part of the human race keep undisturbed the 



A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. 123 

exclusive possession of any secret whatsoever. And 
Sam was shrewd enough to see that the effort to make 
him join the lodge was in itself a tacit admission 
that he had discovered the hidden things of Masonry. 

u But, Sam," I finally said, " ministers and deacons, 
lawyers and judges, and even the Governor of our 
State belong to the lodge. It is considered an honor 
and advantage to be a Freemason and here you are 
running away to get rid of it." . 

u Wall," answered Sam, picking his teeth contentedly 
wijbh a straw, " I've noticed that it is with the Masons 
putty much as it is with the rest of the world, ginerally 
speaking. The big bugs at the top get the most of the 
fuss and attention and grand funerals. The little bugs 
have to stay at the bottom and take up with the leav- 
ings. But that ain't the principal pint of my objections. 
My father was one of them that fought the Red Coats 
at Concord. I've heerd hiui tell many a time how they 
chased the Britishers over the bridge and tired at 'em 
behind walls and trees. I'm a free-born American, 
free to think and speak what I'm a mind to. I want 
no Worshipful Master, nor Grand Commander, nor 
Grand anything else to lord it over me; and I tell ye, 
Leander Severns, I won't swear away niy libertj 7 " in any 
lodge under the canopy." 

And as Sam thus declared his independence there 
was a real dignity about the loose, shambling fellow, 
that inspired me with sudden respect. The man in 
Sum Toller had suddenly risen and confronted me and 
I stood abashed before him. What right had I to seek 
to fasten on another the fetters that I myself would 
have gladly cast off if 1 could? And, furthermore, it 
was very plain to see that tho figurative and esoteric 



124 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

view entertained by my grandfather regarding the pe- 
culiar meaning of the lodge penalties was not shared 
by him. He believed that there was an actual punish- 
ment for the Mason who should violate his oath of 
secrecy, and that punishment was death. 

" Well, Sam," I said,finally, li I'll tell you what you'd 
better do. Make a clean breast of the whole thing to 
my grandfather. He'll find a way oat if anybody can. 

And accordingly, after Sam had deliberated over the 
plan for a while and concluded that " he'd kinder like 
to bid good-bye to the Captain, who was about the fair- 
est man he ever worked for, 1 ' I had the pleasure of 
ushering that worthy into the presence of my aston- 
ished grandfather, whose portly person fairly shook 
with laughter when he comprehended the situation. 

" Sam, you foolish fellow!' 1 he said, as soon as he re- 
covered his gravity sufficiently to have the power of 
speech. u This is a free country. Nobody shall make 
a Mason of you if you don't want to be one. Still I 
think it might be well if you left Brownsville a while. 
The affair will all be forgotten in six months. And 
then you can come back if you don't find some better 
place. Where would you like to go? 4 ' 

" Wall, IVe thought over a number of places, but 
couldn't jest make up my mind,' 1 answered Sam, re- 
flectively. " I did stay at Pemaquoddy one summer- 
hired out to Jake Brown the meanest man. You 
could have put his soul into a bean pod and had room 
for twenty more just like his. And I lived with Mr. 
Greene a while that kept the brick tavern in Pembroke. 
I liked that well enough for a spell, but it's an uneasy 
sort of a life and I got tired of it. Folks coming and 
going kinder keeps you on the jump all the time; don't 



A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. 125 

give you any leisure at all for serious reflections. So I 
pulled up stakes and went away from there. Then I 
stayed to Squire Slack's a couple o' months. Beats me 
how he ever come by his name, for he was jest as tight 
as the bark to a tree. And then there's old Uncle 
Zebedee; lives at a place they call the Bend. I've been 
a calkerlatin' to go and see the old gentleman but I 
never could get a chance to somehow. But now my 
havin' to leave Brownsville seems to be kinder in the 
nater of a Providential opening, as ye may say." 1 

And Sam, who was much addicted to tracing the 
ways of Providence as manifested in the peculiar phases 
and aspect of his own career, sighed profoundly, a 
fashion not uncommon with good people in all ranks 
of life when making similar reflections. 

" Uncle Zebedee," to whom his heart had taken such 
a sudden yearning, won the day; but there was an 
affecting parting between him and Joe before he turned 
his back on Brownsville, to which, it is needless to say, 
I was not an eye-witness. 

A little while after Sam had made an unobserved 
exit by a side entrance attired in some of my grand- 
father's cast-off clothes and his worldly all done up in 
a bundle on his arm, my mother came in with the re- 
mark " that Miss Loker had seen somebody that looked 
just like Sam Toller close by the big hickory, only he 
didn't seem to be dressed exactly like him. 

" It would be very easy for Miss Loker to be mistaken 
at such a distance, Belinda." And my honest grand- 
father, unused to ways of deception, coughed and 
hemmed and rubbed his glasses iu a manner that would 
certainly have roused suspicion in any less innocent 
and unsuspecting soul than my mother. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE SPRING OF 1826. SAM TOLLER. " COMING 

CAST THELR SHADOWS BEFORE." " THE DEEDS OF 

YOUR FATHER YE WILL DO." " HE WAS A 

LIAR FROM THE BEGINNING." 

i HE story writer is in one sense a seer. 
Projecting its dark shadow across his 
sunniest pages he sees the swift-coming 
tragedy of which his readers know noth- 
ing, and at no point in this history has 
there been, a time when the remark did not 
hold true. I have never lost sight of it 
simply because I could not that terrible event 
which was hastening on to make a leaf in our 
national records that should be an unread blank for 
half a century, and then, like a writing in secret ink, 
flash suddenly out to be (God grant it) the death war- 
rant of the vile institution which, thinking its crime 
buried forever, has dared to step boldly back into its 
old place of power and challenge for itself an authority 
above all human or even divine law. 

Yet the spring of 1826 has little to mark it in my 
memory. An era of national prosperity had begun 
with the eight years' Presidency of Monroe that bid 
fair to continue under his successor, John Quincy 
Adams. Florida had been added to the Union, the 




THE SPRING OF 1826. 127 

national debt largely liquidated, and the Erie canal 
built; and the social wheels of Brownsville moved 
smoothly on in those good old ruts of social custom so 
extremely hard to get out of, as most people will testify 
who have made the effort. 

The reasons for Sam's sudden exodus had somehow 
leaked out in the village I am inclined to think Joe 
was the bird of the air that told the matter and caused 
many a sly laugh at the expense of the lodge. Now it 
is characteristic of evil generally that it can not bear 
to be laughed at. A good man or a good cause is cased 
in armor that no shafts of ridicule can penetrate; but 
not so with a system built on iniquity, or a man whose 
success in life is founded on wrong. When Napoleon, 
with a million of trained soldiery at his back, feared 
Madame De Stael so much as to banish her from 
France, it was simply because her keen wit made him 
ridiculous in the eyes of the French people, and no- 
body knew better than he that it was a dangerous 
thing for Napoleon to be made ridiculous. So the 
papacy, in Luther's day, withered under the biting 
satire of Reynard Reineke, for it understood perfectly 
well that, the popular laugh once turned against it, all 
was over with its claims to infallible authority. And 
in like manner Masonry fears nothing so much as to 
have the ridiculous side of her pretensions shown up. 

When the lodge in Brownsville realized that it had 
been mocked and trifled with by " a fellow like Sam 
Toller," I am obliged to confess that the wrath of the 
brotherhood found vent in many expressions not at all 
compatible with their avowed principles of universal 
benevolence. For it was plain enough to see that 
Sam's whole course of conduct had been, from be- 



128 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

ginning to end, a cunningly devised plan to throw 
ridicule" on the sublime and glorious institution of 
Masonry and then escape disagreeable consequences for 
himself by running away at the last moment. 

"The scalawag has done more to hurt us here in 
Brownsville than a little;" remarked the same brother 
Mason who had called Mark a " spooney." " He never 
ought to have been allowed to go on so." 

" I thought a man's tongue was bis own," I answered, 
rather curtly, " How would you stop him ?" 

u There are ways," was the significant answer. 

" What do you mean by that?" I asked, turning on 
the speaker rather more sharply, perhaps, for the rea- 
son that 1 did not like him very well; but as he is to 
figure hereafter in one or two important scenes it is 
best he should be introduced to the reader. His name 
was Mr. Darius Fox, and he held the responsible po- 
sition of village sheriff, but as breaches of the peace 
were not very common in Brownsville he was obliged 
to vary this employment by carrying on a distillery, 
which in those pre-reform times reflected no discredit 
on anybody's personal character, especially as Mr. Fox 
inherited the business from his father, who was a 
former deacon of the church. 

That gentleman gave me no explanation but to shrug 
his shoulders; perhaps in contempt for my greenness; 
at least I so interpreted the action. 

" Sam Toller never did all this out of his own head. 
Somebody set him on, and the question is, Who? It's 
my opinion we shall have to look pretty near home to 
find out." 

I was in a hurry and did not pay very much atten- 
tion to these remarks of Mr. Fox's, for they did not 



THE SPRING OF 1826. 129 

then strike me as having any special significance, ex- 
cept as a view of the case hitherto unthought of, but 
possibly the true one. 

The coach for which I was waiting came lumbering 
along and with a hasty " Good morning" 1 sprang in. 

Among my fellow passengers was a man apparently 
about fifty, who attracted my attention, not onl} ; by a 
remarkably noble cast of the head and face, but by the 
curious contrast between his upright, military bearing, 
and a certain un definable something in air and manner 
that usually marks the learned or literary professions. 

He took a corner seat and sat for most of the way 
seemingly absorbed in silent reverie till the stage 
stopped to change horses, and his next neighbor, a 
chatty little man, evidently one of the class with whom 
a prime condition of happiness is to have somebody to 
talk to, began a conversation something in this wise: 

u That Erie canal is going to do wonders for the bus- 
iness interests of the State, I take it, but it's something 
I never thought to see done in my day. Why, Governor 
Clinton, they say, went to Jefferson when he was Pres- 
ident and tried to talk him over to it, and says Jefferson, 
says he, ' Your idea is a grand one, and the thing may 
be put through a hundred years hence.' Shows our 
wise men don't, know everything now." 

And the speaker laughed pleasantly, as people are 
apt to do when Wisdom, under official robes, is caught 
tripping. 

" Well," said the other, rousing himself up, u we live 
in an age of progress and improvement, and when a 
few years can work such wonderful changes it isn't 
very safe predicting what science may or may not do 
ifor us in the future." 



130 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

" It seems to me that the country is middlin' pros- 
perous. I take it that the nation has about got through 
its biggest trouble, now the hard times are over that 
come of our last war." 

u I don't agree with you there," answered the other. 
"It is my belief that our Republic has not even begun to 
see the worst trouble before it. Underlying our whole 
social system are evils, each one enough in itself, if 
let alone and given time and space to grow, to sap the 
life of our Government. There are dangers to our po- 
litical integrity, to our very existence as a nation, 
which, if not perceived and avoided before it is too 
late, will, in my opinion, work our national ruin." 

"Oh, well.'' returned the man of cheerful views, 
who, like some people of the present day, was not in- 
clined to worry himself over ''evils " or " dangers " not 
immediately palpable to the sight, " there's always the 
Red Skins. They make us lots of trouble, and we may 
have another brush with the Britishers, but I aint much 
afraid of that. I guess we've had about enough fighting 
to last both sides one spell." 

" I hope you are right," answered the man of half- 
clerical, half-military look, "but if foes from without 
are all we have to dread our country has been born to 
an exceptional destiny. It isn't a great many years 
since Aaron Burr plotted to divide the Union. Why 
did his plot fail? Just because he was not a leader. 
He did not possess the confidence of any portion of the 
people and his murder of Hamilton had covered him 
with odium and suspicion." 

" Just so," assented his auditor. " Burr did not have 
no very great chance to do mischief after he had shown 
himself out so by killing Hamilton." 



131 

" But now, given different circumstances," pursued 
the other, " say a man that was a leader, that did have 
the confidence of the people, and could hatch his con- 
spiracy under the cloak of a secret order as Burr did, 
who was a Royal Arch Mason, and my word for it, if 
ho failed it would be because the hand of God worked 
confusion to the plot." 

" Maybe you are right about it," said the man who 
had begun the conversation, u but then 1 don't believe 
that will ever happen. Our Union is getting too 
strong for traitors to try to overturn it." 

" I know this much," said the other, speaking with 
the slow impressiveness of one whose words are weight- 
ed with a good deal of previous thinking on the sub- 
ject, " I was born at the South and I see elements there 
that are even now tending to disunion. Should such 
a plot arise it will, in my view, be most likely to 
originate in that part of the country where there is the 
best chance to keep such a movement secret." 

" You don't say so," said the chatty man, startled 
into silence for about half a minute, during which 
time, the work of changing horses having been com- 
pleted, the stage began to move on, and several more 
passengers entering it, the conversation stopped, but I 
could not help gazing with a strange interest at that 
grave, noble-looking man in the corner, and thinking 
over what he had said about Burr's connection with 
Masonry. How could an institution be beneficial 
morally, socially or politically, that could be made a 
cover for secret crimes and subservient to all the vile 
ends of criminals and conspirators? Yet my grand- 
father thought it could, so did Governor Clinton, so did 
others whom church and state delighted to honor And 



132 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

should I, in my inexperienced young manhood, pre- 
sume to be wiser than they ? And, besides, how could 
I be certain that he meant any condemnation of Ma- 
sonry by his allusion to Burr's treason as being planned 
under its protecting wing, for how many crimes have 
been perpetrated under the mask of piety and in the 
holy names of religion and liberty ? 

At our next stopping place the stranger got out, and 
a Brownsville acquaintance who happened to be in 
the coach, came forward and took his vacant seat. 

u That was Captain William Morgan, of Batavia," 
he remarked, casually. " I know him by sight. Fine 
looking man, isn't he?" 

But the name stirred no rush of memories, thick and 
fast though they crowd upon me as I write it now. 1 
was glad to have seen one whom my grandfather knew 
and esteemed, and felt instinctively that the character 
given him as a boy by his old friend, Benjamin Hagan, 
must be true of the man, but I never recognized in him 
the coming deliverer, through whose witness, sealed 
with his life, thousands of souls, and mine among 
them, were to owe their freedom from galling, bitter 
bondage, to a power which had made them first its 
dupes and then its slaves. 

" I thought Captain Morgan was quite a distinguished 
Mason," said my companion, who happened never to 
have had the " cable-tow " -about his neck, lowering 
his voice and speaking confidentially, " but some of his 
talk sounded to me as though he didn't think very much 
of it after all. You see I've had an invitation to join 
the lodge myself lately and I'm keeping my ears open 
to get all the information I can about it first. If I was 
certain the things Sam Toller let out were true, wild 



133 

horses shouldn't get me in there, and [ told Baxter 
Stebbins so when he asked me to join, but he says Sam 
knew nothing about Masonry really. 

I had not yet reached the point where I could listen 
unstartled to such a revelation of lodge duplicity, es- 
pecially as Baxter Stebbins was the very one with 
whose Ahithophel counsel in the matter of Sam Toller 
the reader is already conversant, and was silent from 
sheer astonishment. 

"I shouldn't have thought so much of what he 
said," continued my companion, whose name was Luke 
Thatcher, a young farmer of Brownsville, a plain, hon- 
est, steady fellow, of more than common intelligence 
and good sense, "only Deacon Brown was standing 
close by and spoke in- nearly the same wa} r about it. 
'Sam has contrived to get a little inkling into Mason- 
ry,' says he, l but that is all. He knows nothing of the 
real secrets.' '' 

Now what is a young man of average conscientious- 
ness to do when brought into a strait where he must 
either himself consent to a lie or tacitly charge on an- 
other, old enough to be his father, one of the most re- 
spected men in the community and an officer of the 
church beside, this most disagreeable accusation? 

I did as the average young man probably would have 
done in like circumstances. I took the easiest course, 
helped by some shadowy recollection of the Fifth Com- 
mandment as including that honor and respect for 
elders which seemed hardly compatible with the other 
mode of meeting the case. And Luke Thatcher a few 
weeks after joined the lodge. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

AN ADHERING FREEMASON INCAPABLE OF ENTIRE LOY- 
ALTY TO HIS WIFE. A LODGE QUARREL. 
JACHIN AND BOAZ. 

N consequence of the fact that my pres- 
ence had been several times required as 
a witness to testify in regard to the 
affair about Sam Toller, and partly be- 
cause I saw the necessity of keeping up 
some show of outward interest if I wanted 
to retain my standing in the lodge, I was 
now a regular attendant on its meetings. 

Rachel uttered no second remonstrance, not 
even when the book we were planning to read together 
had to be laid aside, and the subject on which we had 
promised ourselves a quiet chat must be deferred, while 
she was left to an evening of loneliness, uncheered even 
by the expectation that I would tell her what I had 
seen and heard when I came home. Between us had 
fallen the lodge shadow; it sat like a ghost at our 
hearthstone; it laid cold hands of separation on two 
hearts that honestly loved each other, and the current 
of our two lives, which should have glided on to the 
Eternal Sea in an indivisible unity of thought and 
sympathy and affection, were separating farther and 
farther from each other into their own individual 




A LODGE QUARREL. 135 

channels of separate feeling and purpose. Not that 
we were either of us even dimly aware of this state of 
things. The bare thought would have shocked us, yet 
is was true nevertheless. Rachel's nature, slightly 
imperious, yet rich and sweet and womanly to the core, 
was capable of a boundless self-surrender, a royal giving 
up of her entire being to make the joy and blessing of 
another's life; but there is a divine law of equity in all 
true love, which, if transgressed, brings its own retribu- 
tion. She had not received what she gave and she 
knew it, but as I said before, Rachel had a proud, steady 
poise of will that caused her to maintain a general 
silence on the subject, only flashing out at rare intervals 
in a manner decidedly uncomfortable. For the reader 
has probably observed that among people addicted to 
" saying what they think," there are two classes, one 
in a state of continual eruption, like Stromboli nobody 
minds th^m while with the other this operation is 
more like an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius a thing to be 
remembered with fear and awe, and kept out of the 
way of as much as possible. 

As the heading of this chapter may excite wonder in 
some innocent minds, whose idea of the lodge is a place 
where the utmost concord and brotherly love must 
necessarily prevail as a matter of course, let me hasten 
to remove an impression so entirely erroneous. It is a 
lamentable fact, but no less true, that there exists a 
tendency in our fallen humanity to quarrel. Editors 
quarrel, Congressmen quarrel; there are quarrels in 
high places and in low places; quarrels in the church, 
the parish and the family; and why, in the name of all 
that is reasonable, should the lodge be exempt? 

Be this as it may, serious difficulty arose one evening 



136 BOLDEST "WITH CORDS. 

between Darius Fox and myself, caused by some remark 
of the former about u Achans in the camp," which I 
chose to regard as especially aimed at me. Now u the 
beginning of strife," according to Solomon, who, 
whether he ever ruled over a lodge at Jerusalem, as 
stated by Masonic tradition, or not, was certainly in 
his day a shrewd observer of men and things, " is as 
when one letteth out water;" and through the tiny 
leak of this ill-considered speech rushed a whole torrent 
of angry words. 

" If you accuse me of being in complicity with Sam 
Toller you've got to prove it, that's all," I answered, 
defiantly. u It stands you in hand to be a little careful 
what you say, however." 

" If the coat fits you can put it on," retorted Darius. 
u I won't charge you with anything. I only said that 
somebody, right here in this lodge, too, put Sam up to 
it, and I say so again. There is no use trying to shuffle 
off the truth. We've got a traitor among us. 

Elder Gushing was present when this altercation took 
place and felt called upon by virtue of his ministerial 
office to say something which should calm our rising 
passions. 

"Come, come; this won't do. This isn't brotherly 
love. Mutual accusation and recrimination are the 
last things in which good Masons should indulge, fhe 
true spirit of Masonry does not allow us to suspect evil 
of a brother and requires us to throw a mantle of the 
broadest charity even over his failings." 

Respect for our minister checked the dispute for the 
time being, but fire was smouldering under the ashes. 
It should be remarked in excuse of Mr. Darius Pox, 
wlio was certainly in a most unpleasant temper, chat 



A LODGE QUARREL. 137 

he had just been accosted on his way to the lodge by a 
small boy, rejoicing in bare legs and a rimless hat, who 
drawled out with a provoking grimace, at the same 
time raising both arms to his head and then letting 
them drop to his side, " Lord, my God! Is there no 
help for the widow's son?" 'Now that one of the sub- 
limest and certainly one of the most profitable secrets 
of Masonry, the grand hailing sign of distress, had be- 
come the jest and by-word of profane village gamins, 
what zealous Mason can wonder if poor Mr. Fox felt 
very much like an ancient Jew when he saw the temple 
defiled and its glories laid waste by the hordes of heathen 
Babylonians? 

It may also be observed that, with the desire so 
characteristic of human nature whenever an accident 
happens to lay the blame somewhere, a spirit of mutual 
chiding had taken possession of the lodge. Everybody 
was sure that somebody else must have been repre- 
hensibly careless, or how could Sam have possibly ob- 
tained the secrets? Which serves to explain in some 
degree the reason for my being in a rather irritable 
frame of mind as well as Mr. Fox, and inclined to see 
occasion for offence in a remark that I might have 
passed over in silence at any other time. 

u I've heard of such a thing as stealing the lodge 
keys, 11 suggested a member, Mr. Silas Pratt by name, 
who seldom spoke, but when he did had generally some- 
thing to say. '' If any outsider should get a chance at 
that 'ere book that's kept here what's its name? 
Jachin and Boaz, they might find out the secrets fast 
enough." 

I had noticed that when initiating candidates refer- 
ence was frequently made to a certain volume, which I 



1S& HOLDEN WITH COUDS. 

supposed contained merely the charges and lectures, 
but I had taken no nearer view of it than as I had seen 
it in the hands of some officer of the lodge on the 
above-mentioned occasions, and not being in the least a 
"bright Mason 7 ' myself,, was quite ignorant of the 
fact that many of the members who astonished me by 
their glib speech and ready memories were assiduous 
students of its pages. 

In spite of the assertion so frequently heard at the 
present day, that " Masonry cannot be revealed," it is 
an undeniable fact that there existed in many lodges, 
as well as in the secret keeping of many individual 
members of the fraternity, an old book first published 
in England in 1762, called Jachin and Boaz, which 
at the time it was published was a complete revelation 
and exposure of the first three degrees. But to prevent 
the downfall of the entire system which any discern- 
ing mind will at once perceive would have been the re- 
sult had no protective measures been taken, the lodge 
reversed the grips and passwords of the Entered Ap- 
prentice and Fellow Craft degrees. Otherwise the book 
remained for all practical intents and purposes a com- 
plete guide to the mighty and august mysteries of Ma- 
sonry, and, as such, proved very useful to the craft, 
who were not above taking advantage, as far as possible, 
even of so untoward a circumstance as the illicit pub- 
lication of their boasted secrets. 

But what of the author of Jachin and Boaz? He 
was, of course, a Mason; but the most that has come 
down to us regarding him across the shadowy gulf of 
the last century concerns the manner of his death. 
He was found one -morning in the streets of London, a 
corpse, his throat cut from ear to ear; and whatever 



JACHIK AKD BOAZ. 130 

his motives in publishing the secrets of Masonry 
whether for gain, or notoriety, or the purest and holiest 
motives that ever throbbed in a patriotic bosom pub- 
lished they were. And under the knife of his Masonic 
murderers in great, populous London, the soul of a man 
who had broken no law of his country took its flight 
to Him who has said, u Vengeance is mine." But how? 
Did he face his terrible doom like a martyr and a hero, 
doubly a martyr and a hero that he had not the incite- 
ment of crowds of spectators to bear up the sinking 
flesh; that if he yielded up his life nobly for truth and 
right the world would never know it? Questions that 
cannot be answered for eternity keeps the secret, and 
to those dim, silent shores whither the murderers sent 
their victim, they themselves long since passed away to 
receive their just reward, while the system which made 
them its tools proudly boasted of its benevolence and 
charity, and with the blood of the innocent crimsoning 
her skirts, called herself the handmaid of Christ's pure 
and holy religion. 

It must not be supposed, however, that all this was 
told me in the lodge. By no manner of means. I was 
given to understand that Jachin and Boaz was a 
very rare book (as indeed it was, the fraternity having 
been pretty successful in preventing its publication in 
this country), and that its author, for purposes of spec- 
ulation disappeared from the public view and had it 
given out that he was murdered by Masons in order to 
give his book a more rapid sale a statement honestly 
believed by many members of the lodge, for it does not 
follow that because a man is joined to a system which 
is, in itself, a gigantic fraud upon humanity, he must be 
himself a conscious and deliberate liar. Masonry, like 



140 HOLDEK WITH COBDS. 

the fabled enchantress, mixes a draught for her victims, 
which may not indeed change them into beasts, but has 
a strange power of so darkening the moral conscious- 
ness that they lose that most God-like attribute of the 
human mind, the power to discern between truth and 
falsehood. Such an one, maddened by the cup of her 
sorceries, will call evil good and good evil, until, in the 
awful words of the Hebrew prophet, " He cannot deliv- 
er his soul nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" 
Owing to Elder Cushing's interference there was no 
further interchange of sharp words between Darius 
Fox and myself, but their memory rankled unpleasant- 
ly, for I knew the lodge regarded me as in a certain 
sense mixed up in the affair, and it was a disagreeable 
question how far he voiced the opinions of the rest. 
Mr. Pratt's suggestion that some one might have stolen 
the keys was followed by various other attempts to 
solve the mystery, equally sagacious; but no light, either 
from the East or any other quarter, dawned on the 
vexed subject. Finally, after a rather heated discus- 
sion, the lodge adjourned from " labor " to " refresh- 
ment, 1 ' and in the general unstopping of bottles and 
clinking of glasses good fellowship was in some measure 
restored. u Confusion to the foes of Masonry," which 
was the toast given by Elder Gushing, was duly ap- 
plauded and drank; others followed of much the same 
tenor, ending off by a general drinking to the health 
of all good and faithful brother Masons. For though 
the lodge in Brownsville was no more convivially in- 
clined than most others, there were always certain 
members who, in drinking all these various healths, 
generally contrived to so seriously damage their own as 
to need assistance home. 



A LODGE QUARREL. 141 

Could it be that Sam had in some way got posses- 
sion of Jachin and Boaz? Remembering his curious 
reversal of the grips and passwords, together with the 
fact that throughout the affair there seemed 'to be a 
good mutual understanding between him and Joe, I 
resolved to make one more effort to probe the secret to 
the bottom. 

Which was easier said than done, Masons not being 
the only people in the world who know how to keep 
secrets. But Joe himself opened the way for such a 
conversation by innocently inquiring as soon as he saw 
me next morning 

44 Say, Leander, what was the row in the lodge last 
night?" 

I had never before considered Joe a wizard, but I cer- 
tainly stared at him for an instant as if some such idea 
was in my head, quite forgetting that in going home 
from the lodge Deacon Brown had kept me company as 
far as my grandfather's; I suppose for the purpose of 
giving me a little paternal advice, and the wind had 
been just right to waft his parting words, u Keep your 
temper, keep your temper, Leander; there's nothing to 
be gained by losing that, you know," into the open 
window of the chamber where Joe slept, who, being 
blessed with a pair of sharp ears, had heard it and 
drawn his own deductions. 

"For pity's sake, Joe! 1 ' said I, fairly thrown off my 
guard, " how did you know anything about it?" Joe 
grew suddenly thirsty and went to the water-pail for a 
drink. 

4t 1 didn't know but there might be some fuss brewing 
about what Sam let out," he answered, turning round 
with a preternaturally grave face, though 1 had my own 



142 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

reasons for suspecting that the dipper a moment before 
had mirrored one vastly different. " Sam was a goose 
to get scared and clear out as he did. The Masons 
couldn'tdo anything to him as long as he'd never been 
one himself, and I told him so. But he was bound not 
to join the lodge anyhow, and he was afraid they might 
work it so as to get him in. He said he'd heard of such 
things; and then if they shouldn't believe him that 
he'd never been a Mason, some of them might cut his 
throat for telling the secrets. I told him it was per- 
fectly ridiculous to talk of any such awful thing as 
that ever being done in Brownsville." 

And Joe whistled a stave of u Hail Columbia." 

. u Joe," said I, thinking it about time to push the 
question, "when you and Sam were so much together 
I know that he must have told you who put him in 
possession of the secrets." 

" What if he did," said the undisturbed Joe. " Sup- 
posing I promised him that I would not tell. You 
don't want me to break my promise, do you?" 

" Not in ordinary circumstances, of course, but if 
some member of the lodge was accused of it and your 
testimony could clear him it would be your duty to 
tell." 

For once I had touched the right chord in Joe's 
bosom. Under all his wildness and mischief there was 
honor and conscience, and I could see in a moment that 
my shaft had struck home. 

" Well, I vow; that's plaguey mean, Leander, if they 
have done any such thing. Was that what the fuss 
was about?" 

u How do you know that we had any fuss?" I asked 
again. 



A LODGE QUARREL. 143 

" 0, I'm acquainted with an old woman that's a 
witch. She showed ine how to make myself invisible 
and lent me her broomstick;" coolly fibbed Joe, the 
spirit of fun again getting the upper hand. And then 
he added, with a sudden change of tone: "They have 
not been accusing you^ have they, Leander?" 

44 Not exactly, only Darius Fox " 
~x Joe started. 

J 44 If I don't shut his mouth! Darius Fox. That's 
~ /good. Never you fear, Leander, I'll make him whist as 
a ibaouse." 

And Joe chuckled to himself like a young Machi- 
avelian. 




CHAPTER XVII. 

LUKE THATCHER. RUMORS. MASONRY IN ITS RELIGIOUS 
ASPECTS. 

> N a warm evening in the latter part of 
July, Luke Thatcher happened along, 
and leaning over the fence in the ap- 
proved fashion of rural communities, 
began a general chat with me about the 
weather and the crops one of those quiet 
bucolic discourses in which the heart of 
your true farmer delights, for Luke Thatcher 
was in every fiber of his being a true son and 
lover of the soil. Nobody in all Brownsville raised 
finer cattle or gathered in a heavier harvest than he, 
for even in those days, when there was no such thing 
as an agricultural college thought of, and treatises were 
few and costly, there were thinking farmers; and Luke 
Thatcher, out of a very ordinary common-school edu- 
cation, had brought what some fail to bring from the 
universities habits of observation and study, together 
with a keen, inquiring mind, that liked to know some- 
thing of the philosophy underlying nature's wonder- 
ful operations. He could talk intelligently about the 
various minerals that go to make up the soil, and tell 
how a preponderance of one or a scarcity of the other 



HUMORS. 145 

could best be remedied; he knew the fine points in cat- 
tle and was something of a veterinarian, whose services 
were in frequent demand among his neighbor's live 
stock, his own, by judicious care and feeding seldom 
being on the diseased list. 

It could hardly be supposed that such a man would 
find in the foolish ceremonials of the lodge anything 
especially pleasing to his mental 01 moral sense, and in 
silent disgust Luke had quitted the institution like 
many others, feeling that his manhood had been dis- 
graced and degraded; that he had been duped and lied 
to; yet, through motives of mingled fear and shame, 
willing to remain silent rather than confess that in 
surrendering his neck to the cable-tow he had put him- 
self under a secret power which exacts of its slaves, 
silence anywhere and everywhere, SILENCE. No mat- 
ter how much they despise it in their hearts, no matter 
if heaven-eyed Truth herself stands before them and 
commands them to testify; no matter if Justice falls 
in the street and Liberty dies on the very threshold of 
her birthplace, a Mason must be silent and it is the 
very least the hoodwinked, cable-towed system of dark- 
ness demands of him. 

u I heard some news to daj T ," said Luke, just as he 
turned to go. " I came across an old acquaintance from 
Batavia, and what do you suppose he told me? That 
Captain Morgan was going to publish all the secrets of 
Freemasonry up to the Royal Arch degree."" 

" Did he tell it on good authority?" I asked, aston- 
ished, but at the same time utterly incredulous. 

" Of course T don't know just how the story started," 
answered Luke, u but I know it is something more than 
mere rumor. The one that told me was a Mason, and 



146 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

he said they had just had a meeting of the lodge in 
Batavia to consider what could be done about it." 

> Well, what do they intend to do?" I asked. 

" Suppress the book if they can; but I don't see how, 
unless " 

Luke stopped abruptly, and whatever the thought 
that was in his mind it remained unuttered. 

Of course 1 went to my grandfather with the news, 
but he was one of that easy, good-natured class of 
human beings who, in relation to evil tidings, have a 
happy faculty of skepticism. 

U I don't believe it, Leander. He may have some 
enemy that has set the story to going. Perhaps he is 
getting up some book for the use of the fraternity; 
but Captain Morgan is the last man that would go to 
work to expose the secrets of the order. I am certain 
of that." 

" But they seem to believe it there in Batavia," I 
suggested. 

My grandfather smoked his pipe for a moment with- 
out replying, a look of trouble on his round, cheerful 
face; but it cleared up as he finally said 

"Lies most generally start in a man's own neighbor- 
hood just as toadstools grow round an old house. I 
made it a rule years ago, and it is a good rule, Leander 
I wish everybody would follow it not to mind evil 
reports. Ten to one they will turn out to be false, and 
even if they are true it's bad stock to invest in. 1 re* 
member when I was a young man courting your grand- 
mother, somebody told her an awful lie about me that 
I had two strings to my bow and was courting another 
girl besides her. Wejl,your grandmother there ain't 
many women now-a-days as handsome as she was, 



RUMORS. 

though Rachel has a look like her, tall, with color in 
her cheeks like a rose and black eyes that would flash 
if anything was said that didn't suit her just turned 
round to the one that told it (it was Jack Stebbins 
he liked her and wanted to cut me out, so there was 
some excuse for him after all, poor fellow), and says 
she, ' I don't believe a word you say; 1 and marched out 
of the room like a queen. I've often thought what an 
effect it might have had on me if your grandmother 
had believed Jack Stebbins. But the next time I saw 
her she told me the whole, and put it right to me if it 
was true. And then for the first time we saw straight 
into each other's hearts. I never felt sure before that 
she really cared for me, there were so many others that 
wanted her that had more money and could make more 
show in the world than I did. But she gave me her 
promise that very night, just fifty years ago, Leaiider." 

And my grandfather's eyes grew dreamy, as he leaned 
back in his chair, having ended his stoiy and moral 
lecture together. Memories of the past, like a sweet- 
scented wind, were breathing through his soul, and the 
gentle smile on his aged lips told that for the moment 
he had forgotten the joys and sorrows of half a century 
and was a young lover once more, happy in the great- 
est earthly gift God can bestow upon man the heart 
of a true woman. 

I knew now why my grandfather had always been 
so fond of Rachel, why he laughed at and seemed to 
enjoy her little imperious speeches, why his eyes often 
followed her about with such a look of pensive pleasure. 
She reminded him of his own buried love, over whose 
head the daisies had blossomed for many a long sum- 
mer since he laid her to rest in that quiet New England 



148 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

churchyard, and thought his heart was broken. But 
while her name grew dim under the gathering moss, 
time did its blessed work of healing, and though my 
grandfather's sorrow for the lost partner of his youth 
had been so deep as to forbid him ever taking to him- 
self another, he could speak of her with a smile, and 
when he read in his large-print Bible of the City which 
hath no need of sun or moon, because the Lamb is the 
light thereof; he could stifle every pang of mortal re- 
gret, thinking of a white-robed anger- form 'that, free 
from all stain of earthly infirmity, waited for him with 
love's sweet patience on the other side. 

I would not break in on my grandfather's reverie 
with any words, and in a moment or two silently 
quitted the room. 

Rachel had proved herself a careful housewife, a 
prudent manager, a loving helpmeet, one in whom the 
heart of her husband might safely trust. She made 
the door-yard gay with marigolds and pinks and prince's 
feather; she coaxed morning-glory vines to clamber 
about the windows; she cooked to perfection all the 
honest, homely dishes that in those days were the com- 
mon bill of fare, even of the most well-to-do; she spun 
and wove, and that pearl of good managers, u the 
virtuous woman," herself could not have excelled her 
in this particular line of household industry. But all 
the while that her busy hands moved so lightly and 
deftly from one task to another, any one of keen 
spiritual insight might have seen in her dark eyes the 
look of a soul nut at peace, but covering up its inward 
unrest with the thought that " it was no use to tell." 

But one Sunday Rachel, who, had been sitting for a 
while with her Bible open on her lap, suddenly closed 



MASONRY 1ST ITS KELIGIOUS ASPECTS. 149 

it, ana 1 hiding her face on my shoulder burst into tears. 

U 0, Leander! how I wish I was a Christian," she 
sobbed. "I have always wished so, but lately more 
than ever. 11 

" 0, well;" said I, in my mingled perplexity and de- 
sire to comfort her, saying the first thing that came 
uppermost, u if we pray, and read the Bible, and try 
to do as near right as we can, it seems to me that is all 
that is required of us. Even a Christian cannot do 
anything more." 

" I used to think so myself," answered Rachel, " but 
I have done all these things and no good has come of 
them that I can see. No, I don't mean just that. It 
isn't a right way of expressing myself. These ought 
to be done, but there must be something left undone; 
there must be some truth that I don't understand 
which needs to be understood and brought into some 
relation to my daily life before I can feel satisfied. And 
now, Leander, I am going to ask you a question and I 
want you to answer me truly." 

Thus adjured I promised to do so to the best of my 
ability, not without some misgivings, however, due to 
the fact that Rachel's " questions " were often of a 
rather startling, not to say embarrassing, nature. 

u It is just this, Leander. Ever since I can remem- 
ber I have heard Masonry called a ' religious institu- 
tion.' Now I don't care a pin's worth for your secrets, 
but even the Jews would let the dogs under the table 
eat of the children's crumbs, and if there is one single 
divine truth taught in the lodge that would help me, I 
am willing to take up with the merest crumb uf it. * 

I could not suspect Rachel of concealed sarcasm, 
not with those unshed tears still trembling on her eye- 



150 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

lashes, but 1 think Elder Gushing himself might have 
felt somewhat embarassed by such a peculiar claim on 
his Masonic charity. If I kept my promise and " an- 
swered Rachel truly," I must either say that Masonry 
was less benevolently inclined than even Judaism in 
its worst estate, or confess that it had in reality no di- 
vine truths to impart; not a whole or even a half loaf 
to its own children, much less the crumb for profane 
cowans outside. 

" Masonry is a moral institution," I said, at last. " It 
doesn't profess to make men Christians." 

u But it is certainly religious," 22 contested Rachel. 
"It has chaplains and high priests, and of course 
prayers and an altar, and some kind of a ritual. That 
all follows as naturally as B follows A. And whoever 
heard of an institution that was just u moral " and 
nothing else, doing what Masonry does, and claiming 
for itself what Masonry claims? This is all I judge 
by, and it is enough. Haven't I been to Masonic 
funerals and haven't I heard Masonic ministers preach 
aud pray? If they told the truth it is a great religious 
system; and if it is anything less than that, all their 
preaching and praying was just a lie from beginning 
to end. Haven't I heard them call it time and again a 
divine institution ? Don't they claim that it is founded 
on the Bible? that its teachings are the very essence 
of Christianity, the sum total of truth and virtue? 
that it actually contains in itself e\ 7 erything needed to 
make man perfect in this life and insure him an entrance 
into the Grand Lodge above? Of course John and 
Paul must have been mistaken when they called Heaven 
a city instead of a Grand Lodge," added Rachel, who 
was, I am afraid, growing a trifle sarcastic, "or it may 

NOTE 22. " The Speculative Mason Is engaged in the construction of a 
spiritual temple in his heart, pure and spotless, fit for the dwelling place of Him 
who is the author of purity. ^Mackey's Ritualist, p. 39. 



MASONRY IN" ITS RELIGIOUS ASPECTS. 151 

be only an error of the translators. I have a great 
mind to ask Elder Cushing's opinion on that point the 
next time I see him." 

" Perhaps it -would be a good idea, Rachel," I said 
meekly. 

Did the conversation draw us nearer together in that 
close, enduring bond which reaches into eternity, of 
two souls united in one high purpose, to know and serve 
their Maker? Did it not rather drive us apart ? Rachel 
had spoken the truth, though as yet not conscious of 
the whole truth, about Masonry. It was a religion. 
But while Rome. honored her Vestal virgins, and the 
old Goths their fair-haired Valas; while the grand, all- 
embracing faith of the blessed Redeemer, sweeping 
away such superstitious reverence, had raised woman 
wherever it found her, to the broadest social and mental 
equality with man, Masonry classes the whole sex in- 
discriminately with " fools and atheists," and then has 
the audacity to flaunt before the eyes of the world as 
the " essence of Christianity." 

Meanwhile a cloud was gathering that was yet to 
cover the land, and the low mutterings of the distant 
thunder began to be very audible, even in Brownsville. 




CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE GATHERING STORM. 

'Y grandfather said but little after it 
ceased to be rumor and became report 
that Captain Morgan of Batavia was 
writing out the secrets of Mason ry with 
intent to publish them to the outside 
world, and feeling rather curious to learn 
what shape his thoughts were taking I asked 
him one day if he really believed the book 
would ever be published. 
U I don't know, Leander. I don't know," he an- 
swered, with a dubious shake of his gray head. " I am 
sorry Captain Morgan has been so unwise as to under- 
take such a thing. It will only hurt him. and being a 
family man he ought to consider his wife and children. 
And of course it will hurt Masonry to begin with, but 
1 have been thinking it over, and it is my opinion that 
in the end it will only be an advantage to it." 

"How so?" I asked, somewhat surprised at this san- 
guine view of the case. 

' Why. don't you see, Leander," said my grandfather, 
laying down both pipe and newspaper in his earnest- 
ness. " Masonry will have to be altered if this thing 
goes on. I don't mean in any of it's essentials, for of 
course it cannot change in spirit or principle; but I 



THE GATHERING STORM. 153 

have been thinking there could be no better chance to 
reform the institution in a few points to drop for in- 
stance some of its forms and ceremonies that are only 
a needless offence to young candidates, and substitute 
others in their stead more in agreement with the pro- 
gressive spirit of the age; in short, to have less of the 
law and more of the gospel in it. And if this should 
be the result of Morgan's publishing the secrets, I, for 
one, don't care in the least how soon it is done." 

And over this agreeable outcome of the whole affair 
my grandfather waxed decidedly cheerful and turned to 
his pipe and paper with a very untroubled air; pausing, 
however, almost as soon as he began to read, with his 
finger on a certain paragraph, to which he called my 
attention. It ran as follows: 

NOTICE AND CAUTION. 

If a man calling himself WILLIAM MORGAN should intrude himself on the 
community they should be on their guard particularly the MASONIC FRA- 
TERNITY. Morgan was in this village in May last, and his conduct while here 
and elsewhere calls forth this notice. Any information in relation to Morgan 
can lie obtained by calling at the MASONIC HALL in this village. Brethren 
and companions are particularly requested to observe, mark and govern 
themselves accordingly. 

JjS^Morgan is considered a swindler and a dangerous man. 

i3P~ There arc people in this village who would be happy to see this Captain 
Morgan. 

"Canandaigua, August 9, 1826." 

44 May last." I repeated. " That was the time I saw 
Captain Morgan in the stage coach. Don't you remem- 
ber my speaking about it ?" 

But my grandfather did not answer. He generally 
read anything important over twice, and was now en- 
gaged in giving the notice a second careful perusal. 

" Leander," he said, finally, pushing back his glasses 
with one hand while the finger of the other continued 
to point at the italicized words, u what did they do in 



154 HOLDER WITH COKDS. 

the lodge last night? I haven't thought to ask you 
before, but I suppose Elder Gushing and the rest of the 
committee made their report.'' 

" Well, not a report, exactly; Elder Gushing said it 
was a matter to be settled in the chapters, but not ripe 
yet for discussion in the lodge. He had no authority 
to say anything more than this, that Morgan's book 
should and would be suppressed/ 1 

My grandfather looked thoughtful but said no more, 
an4 after a moment of silence resumed his reading. 

In those days a newspaper was not the lightly es- 
teemed article which it is now, and all my grandfather's 
were carefully saved for Rachel and I to read, and after 
we had done with them they were passed to somebody 
else, and so on ad infinitum. Thus it happened that 
Rachel's eye fell on the same notice, and her wonder 
and curiosity were at once aroused. 

u Leander." she said, " I don't understand it. What 
has Captain Morgan been doing so bad that he must be 
pointed out to the public as " a swindler and a danger- 
ous man?" And what do these words mean: u observe, 
mark and govern themselves accordingly?" 

" Only violating his Masonic oath," I replied, think- 
ing it best to answer the easiest question first. " So I 
suppose this is intended to warn the fraiernity against 
him." 

kt Then why don't they use good common English?" 
said Rachel. " What is the use of all this beating 
about the bush? Or is it intended that it should only 
be understood by Masons?" 

Now I knew well enough what had made my grand- 
father so suddenly thoughtful. I knew that un- 
der that form of words lurked a sinister meaning, 



THE GATHERING STORM. 155 

detected by Rachel's quick and pure perceptions, as 
one feels the slimy, creeping presence of a serpent. 
For the report of what was doing in Batavia had spread 
like wild-fire through the whole Masonic camp, and 
created an excitement not at all to be wondered at 
when it is considered that on the keeping of its secrets 
inviolate hinged the whole question whether Masonry 
should continue to be what it had been in the past, 
" the power behind the throne," swaying the decisions 
of bench, and senate, and council chamber; or whether, 
its silly secrets and impious ceremonies fully unvailed, 
it should go down like a mill-stone before the popular 
scorn, in the graphic words of Scripture, u a hissing 
and a reproach." Brownsville lodge even forgot Sam 
Toller in this more immediate and absorbing subject of 
interest. It held several meetings in which there was 
much free and hearty abuse of the worthless miscreant 
and perjured villain, Captain Morgan, and many stout 
assertions made that Masonry not only never had been 
revealed, but never could, would or should be. And 
considering how often this sentiment was repeated the 
general excitement among Masons of every class and 
condition over a thing that could not possibly happen 
was certainly a curious phenomenon. 

Still the ordinary social life of Brownsville remained 
undisturbed.- There was the same sound of village 
gossip, the same small tragedies and comedies that go 
to make up the sum of daily living. Every Sunday 
standing in the sacred desk, Elder Gushing preached 
and prayed precisely as he had preached and prayed so 
many Sundays before, and how should anybody suspect 
that he, a minister of the Gospel of peace and good 
will to men, was all the while cherishing murder in his 



156 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

heart? Still less, that the same remark could just as 
pertinently be made of many of his brother ministers 
whose devotion and piety no one thought of impugn- 
ing. And, furthermore, would it not have been a 
strange and startling thing to tell in the ears of any 
lover of law and order that not in Brownsville only, 
but scattered through the whole county and State were 
sheriffs, justices of the peace and ex-legislators, either 
committed personally to the same course of action or 
giving it their tacit approval? Yet it -was true, never- 
theless, though many an. honest Mason would have 
been full as slow to believe it as the most skeptical 
outsider. For, like most other systems of evil that 
have cursed poor, weak human kind since the Fall, 
Masonry understands perfectly well that the fanaticism 
or even the depravity of its members are not more 
valuable aids in carrying out a plan of concealed in- 
iquity than the honest stupidity of good men; men who 
would not themselves injure a fellow being, and are 
therefore slow to suspect it of others; men who have 
practically deserted its counsels and can deny with all 
the assured confidence of ignorance that "these things 
are so." 

u There is something about this piece that 1 don't 
like," continued Rachel, decidedly; "it is too much 
like stabbing a man in the dark to call hini a ' swindler ' 
and 'dangerous ' to the community, and not tell what 
he has done. But of course it is wrong for Captain 
Morgan to break his oath." 

Rachel sat for a moment with her eyes fixed on the 
floor and had only just resumed her reading when Joe 
brought in a letter from Mark. He wrote that we 
must not expect him home this vacation as he could 



THE GATHERING STORM. 157 

not well afford to spend either the money or the time. 
He was now making rapid progress in the classics and 
the higher mathematics and felt that the few weeks of 
exemption from school duties must be improved to the 
utmost, especially as he had a prospect of advancement 
to a higher position next quarter. The letter contained, 
as usual, much love to all at home, and many inquiries 
after sundry four-footed friends about the farm, and 
ended with a grateful mention of Elder Gushing. 

u Dear boy! 1 ' was Rachel's only comment, though 
she looked disappointed. 

" Well, Rachel," said I, folding up the letter, u you 
must acknowledge that Elder Gushing has done a good 
thing for Mark in getting him this situation, and you 
see how deeply Mark seems to feel his obligation to 
him. He might have been plodding along in the old 
ruts to day if the Elder hadn't happened to take such 
an interest in him, and now there is no saying what he 
may get to be Judge, or Senator, or perhaps President 
who knows?" 

Rachel smiled, but it was a very thoughtful little 
smile. Then she turned suddenly round to me. 

"Leander," she said, "I want to tell you a short 
story. There was once a beggar who was heir to a 
throne, only he didn't know anything about it. And 
one day a man came across him who was a royal em- 4 
bassador from his father's court, specially commissioned 
to find the missing heir. But what did the man do? 
He was very kind to him ; he took pains to procure him 
a good situation with a fair prospect for rising in life; 
but all the while, though he knew he was the king's 
long lost son, lie verer told liim of it! Now do you 
understand my parable?'' 



15S fiOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

u Not very well. What has all this to do with Mark 
and Elder Gushing?" 

" A great deal, as you will see after I have explained 
it to you. Mark is a Christian, I firmly believe, and 
Elder Gushing knows, or ought to know it. Why 
hasn't he ever told him? Why hasn't he been at least 
half as anxious to prove him an heir of Christ as to 
make him a Mason? I tell you, Leandor, if he had 
been, even though he had never got him this situation, 
Mark would have a thousand times more reason to feel 
grateful to Elder Gushing than he has now." 

And having had her say, Rachel dropped the subject 
till some other time when the spirit should again move 
her. 

No one in the lodge denounced more severely the 
doings of that u vile, perjured wretch " in Batavia, than 
Darius Fox, who, by the way, had been very civil to me 
since our little disagreement previously mentioned, and 
had even apologized after a fashion for his offensive 
words in the lodge meeting. As for me I was very 
willing to let bygones be bygones, and only quietly 
wondered at his change of manner, though not without 
a hidden inkling that Joe might have explained the 
mystery had he felt so disposed. 

" It won't do to mind all a fellow says, especially 
when he gets worked up, and the time has come now 
for all true Masons to hang together; if we don't, our 
secrets will get to be nothing but a by-word from one 
end of the country to the other. The publishing of 
that book must be stopped. There are no two ways 
about it. If we can't do better we'll send Morgan to 
travel East one of these days consign him to a kind 
of honorable exile, you know. 7 ' 



THE GATHEKIKG STOKM. 159 

And Darius chuckled over his little joke, the point of 
which I failed to see very clearly, but not liking to 
show my stupidity, let it pass. 

Mr. Fox was a Royal Arch Mason, and so had the 
right, not possessed by ordinary members of the lodge 
who had taken but three degrees, to know what was 
doing in the chapter. Deacon Brown was another 
thus privileged, and expressed himself quite as decidedly 
in regard to the matter as did Mr. Fox, though in a 
little different fashion, as befitted his age and ecclesi- 
astical standing. 

" This is the time for every good Mason to rally to 
the support of the most moral, humane, and, next to 
the church itself, the divinest institution on earth. To 
be indifferent or careless in such a crisis is to provoke 
the wrath of heaven. ' Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bit- 
terly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not 
up to the help of the Lord against the mighty.'' " 

It struck me that the worthyj)eacon was a little out 
in his quotation; that it was a rather violent stretch of 
the imagination to say the least, to class that open- 
browed, clear-eyed, brave-souled man who sat writing 
in his little room in Batavia, among the " mighty," 
however apposite the term might be when applied to a 
vast secret power that numbered its adherents by tens 
of thousands all over the land, and boasted itself in- 
vincible. But the Deacon seemed quite oblivious of 
having made this little dip, and it was not for me to 
enlighten him. 

Thus matters went on in Brownsville lodge, the air 
charged with a kind of brooding electricity, like the 
subterraneous lightning which foreruns the earth- 
quake. But though there was plenty of talk like the 



160 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

above which made me vaguely uneasy, it was mostly of 
that enigmatical sort which may mean much or little, 
according as one chooses to interpret it. To my un- 
derstanding it only expressed a determination, more or 
less decided, to suppress, if possible, the publication of 
the book, and 1 was sufficiently ashamed of my own 
share in Masonic fooleries to feel quite willing to see 
this done. But the idea of violence, of actual murder! 
who, as I said before, could possibly suspect such 
things of his neighbors and fellow townsmen worthy, 
respectable men for the most part, who went to church 
regularly and voted at every town meeting, and de- 
meaned themselves like Christian citizens of a free Re- 
public! I did not and could not believe it, especially 
after my grandfather's easy way of viewing the subject, 
and I put it to the reader if he could, in a similar situa- 
tion, have thought otherwise. 

So the days wore on those August days of Anno 
Domini 1826. 

u We are going to gather in a splendid crop^this 
year, but I've worked hard enough to do it," I said to 
my grandfather with a litffe pardonable pride, as we 
stood looking at the acres of waving grain ripe for the 
sickle. 

''That's right, Leander; the hand of the diligent 
maketh rich," answered my grandfather, approving- 
ly. "But now I think of it, I wish when you take 
your flour to market you would contrive to stop at 
Batavia coming back and see Jedediah Mills for me. 
A man at my age ought to have no loose ends to his 
affairs, and there's a little matter of business between 
us I would like to have settled up."' 



THE GATHERING STORM. 161 

I readily promised, little thinking that in so doing 1 
was about to become a spectator, and in some sense an 
actor, in scenes so strange and startling that to the 
reader of to-dav they seem more like romance than a 
part of sober, veritable history. 




CHAPTER XIX. 

A NIGHT IN BATAVIA. 

rR. SAMUEL D. GREENE kept the Park 
Tavern in Batavia, at which I put up 
late one Saturday night. He had moved 
there from Pembroke a few years before, 
and it was in the latter place that Sam 
/k Toller had spent a brief period in his em- 
ploy, with a result already known to the 
reader. 

A still, quiet man, not yet forty, was mine 
host of the Park Tavern, born of a line of godly an- 
cestors in the quiet old town of Leicester, in Massa- 
chusetts; a gentleman and a scholar, who had received 
his education at a famous New England University, 
and while fitted by his superior breeding and culture 
for a higher position was b} T no means disqualified 
thereby for the homely practicalities of his present 
manner of life, as evinced by the fact that his house 
was widely known as one of the best places of enter- 
tainment in the country. Furthermore, he was a 
Christian man who believed in prayer, and tried to 
square his every action by the Bible; a patriotic and 
public-spirited citizen, moreover, to whom his towns- 
men naturally looked when there was any responsible 



A 1UGHT IK BATAVIA. 163 

office to fill, and, at the time I write, general guardian 
of the young and prosperous village of Batavia, being 
chief of its board of trustees. Such was the man 
whose name was forever to be linked with Morgan's 
a man who could not be coaxed, nor bought, nor 
frightened; who could take his stand on the Rock of 
Ages, grandly defiant of the malice and persecution 
that was to follow him, not for a month or a year, but 
for over half a century perhaps a more searching test 
of loyalty to truth than many a martyr's brief hour of 
agony at the stake. 

But it must not be supposed that I knew all this 
about Mr. Greene, when, finding that Jedediah Mills 
had moved to Tonawanda, a few miles off, I put 'up at 
the Park Tavern for that night and the following Sun- 
day, travel on the Lord's day, except in the plainest 
cases of necessity and mercy being a thing my grand- 
father never countenanced; nor had sneers at the 
" Puritan Sabbath" at that time so far let down the 
bars of public opinion as to make it either respectable 
or common. To know that my host, calm and quiet as 
he outwardly appeared, was in reality passing through 
one ot those ordeals that " try men's souls " of what 
stuff they are made; that he was playing a most diffi- 
cult and dangerous part with full knowledge of the 
risk he was running, would have surprised me very 
much, but it would doubtless have surprised Mr. 
Greene's neighbors more. 

For I had made my visit to Batavia in troublous 
times. Men stood talking in excited groups on the 
street corners, and the general air of the place was 
more that of a village standing in the way of some in- 
vading army and hourly expecting to be pillaged, than 



164 HOLDEK WITH OOKDS. 

a quiet American township whose peace no war not 
rumor of war was ever likely to disturb. 

But a key to this state of affairs had been furnished 
me by a rather singular encounter which took place 
when I was coming down on the canal. I had just 
stepped off the boat at one of the landings when a 
man came up and clapped me on the shoulder with the 
words 

u We've got to play 'possum for a while. There's 
some traitor in the camp. Blast him! Miller has got 
warning and is on his defence." 

But as soon as I turned round and confronted the 
speaker, naturally startled at this style of address, the 
quick 'change in the man's face showed him to be aware 
of his mistake and not a little disconcerted thereat. 

" Beg pardon," said he, " but I was expecting to 
meet an acquaintance here, and you were dressed so 
much like him, and are just about his build, that I 
could have sworn it was he as you stood there with 
your back to me. You are a Mason, perhaps?" 

This was spoken in a low interrogatory, the stranger 
scanning my face meanwhile with a pair of snake-like 
eyes. He was dressed in light clothes, outwardly like 
a gentleman, and to the unobserving might have read- 
ily passed for such, but under a critical view there was 
much in his whole air and appearance that was at vari- 
ance with this idea. 

u Yes, I am a Mason," I answered, with a quick not- 
ing of the look of relief that overspread the stranger's 
sinister visage. He had made a mistake, but by no 
means so bad a one as he feared. 

;< Ah, going to Batavia?" 

" Yes; but may I ask why you make these inquiries?" 



A NIGHT IK BATAVIA. 165 

I said, for I did riot entirely like the stranger's cross- 
examination, and the possible meaning of that speech 
to his supposed friend just then flashed across my 
mind, for I knew that a certain Colonel Miller of 
Batavia was associated with Captain Morgan as his 
publisher, and in the general Masonic zeal to suppress 
the book, though by no means fully aware of the deadly 
form that their hatred towards Morgan was taking, I 
knew there were men in the fraternity ready enough 
to use violence if they could be assured of safety to 
themselves. 

" I merely ask these questions to see if you, as a 
Mason, are prepared to govern yourself accordingly," 
answered the stranger, with a cautious glance around 
to see if any one was within hearing distance. u You 
are going on to Batavia. Well and good; only re- 
member that whatever a Mason knows, he must know 
nothing where the interests of Masonry are concerned, 
for his oath is above every other possible obliga- 
tion." 

In his anxiety not to be overheard, the stranger had 
hissed rather than spoken these last words in my ear, 
and now walked rapidly off, probably thinking it best 
to let this small lump of Masonic leaven do its work 
unhindered. It certainly raised considerable fermenta- 
tion in my mind, for I could not doubt there was some 
Masonic conspiracy against Morgan and Miller on foot, 
and the stranger who had so mysteriously addressed 
me was one of the chief ones in the plot. Now to be 
mistaken for a fellow-conspirator was unpleasant 
enough, but to be told that I must be blind and deaf to 
everything I saw and heard " where the interests of 
Masonry were concerned/' or else violate my obliga- 



166 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

tions as a Mason, was more unpleasant still, because it 
was the truth. 

But the whole mystery stood revealed when I reached 
Batavia, for it was as I have said, the theme on every 
street corner. To protect his life and property from 
midnight violence by a Masonic mob, Colonel Miller, 
in this land of equal rights and general respect for 
law, had been obliged to set an armed guard over his 
printing office, the plot against him having been re- 
vealed nobody knew how by some unknown mem- 
ber of the fraternity so poorly instructed in his Ma- 
sonic obligations as actually to put his duty to God 
and his neighbor first. 

From one source and another, from Masons, and 
those who were not Masons, I had gained a tolerably 
correct knowledge of the state of affairs in Batavia be- 
fore I entered the bar-room of the Park Tavern, where 
the one exciting topic of the hour was being discussed 
by several new arrivals like myself, after the free and 
candid fashion peculiar to American citizens in public 
places. 

"I say now, Masonry is a good thing;" spoke up one 
of the said " new arrivals." " There's ins and outs in 
trade, and a whisper in the ear from one of the know- 
ing ones that can tell you just when and where to sell, 
I've found as good as hard dollars many a time when 
I've been to market with flour and grain. And I say 
that to reveal the secrets as Morgan and Miller are 
doing is a vile, dastardly thing, for it is like taking 
money right out of the pockets of the farmers and 
working men who pay their lodge dues and have a 
right to enjoy the benefits of Masonry without hin- 
drance from any one. That's my view." And the 



A KIGHT IK BATAVIA. 



167 



speaker, an individual of a ^enus very common every- 
where, who was not so much consciously selfish as he 
was mora!l} T obtuse, blew his nose with the air of one 
who has made a point not easily carried. 

u That's right, ' always speak well of the bridge that 
carries you safe over,' my old grandmother used to say," 
put in a jocular looking man who stood ordering a 
drink at the bar, and now walked forward and joined 
the group. 

" I believe in free and equal rights for everybody," 
said another and younger man. I never could see any 
reason, for my part, why Masons should be privileged 
before other folks. 1 ' 

" You ain't one, that's plain enough," put in the 
jocular man. " I have noticed that it generally takes a 
Mason to see the beauty of that kind of thing. You'd 
better join 'em and you'll find the grapes are a mighty 
sight sweeter. Fact now." 

And with a grin that spread from ear to ear he went 
up to the bar to take the tumbler of punch that he 
had ordered, while the other retorted with some spirit: 

u I won't just yet, anyhow. Pretty business, I say, 
here in free America, if a man can't write and print 
what he's a mind to without the risk of having his life 
taken and his house burnt over his head!" 

"Now such talk as that is all bosh," answered the 
first speaker, decidedly; "there has been no attack 
made on Miller yet, and there won't be. The man that 
got up such a story was a fool, to my way of thinking, 
and the people that believe him are more fools yet." 

But at this point the waiter came to show me to my 
room and T lost the rest of the conversation. 

No midnight alarm disturbed my rest, and the Sun- 



168 . HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

day dawned as fair and peaceful as any Sunday morning 
in Brownsville. During the day I took a stroll through 
the village, feeling a curiosity to see the building where 
a work that had raised so much commotion and passion- 
ate excitement was going on. It was in the second 
story of a building separated from another by a narrow 
alley (a private family occupying the lower part), while 
from the corresponding office on the other side hung 
the sign of the Batavia Advocate, of which Miller was 
publisher. 

Suddenly I saw, or thought 1 saw, lurking in the 
shadow of one of the stairways that lead up to these 
rooms from the outside, the figure of a man, but when 
f turned again, thinking to be certain, it had disap- 
peared; but something in that momentary glimpse re- 
called to my recollection the stranger who had so mys- 
teriously accosted me when leaving the canal boat. 
Was it he? And if so what was he there for? Mis- 
chief, undoubtedly. But the day had so far passed in 
perfect quiet, and many in Batavia were quite ready to 
think themselves fooled, and feel ashamed of their 
alarm, as people are always apt to when they have rea- 
son to think it groundless. Even Colonel Miller had 
decided after having guarded his office two nights to 
pass this without any particular precautions for de- 
fence . 

As for me I retired to rest at an early hour so as to 
be ready to rise betimes on the morrow, go to Tona- 
wanda, and thence homeward. 

But I could not sleep. I was sure I had seen that 
man lurking by Miller's office. If I shut my eyes his 
face was before me, his hissing whisper in my ear. The 
incident which in the daytime I had tried to assure 



A NIGHT IN BATAYIA. 169 

myself was nothing, came back to me in the solemn 
night hours instinct with fearful possibilities. What 
should I do? Rouse the whole house with my story 
and get laughed at for my pains? This clearly would 
not do. I sat up in bed for a moment and thought it 
over. 

My resolution was soon taken. I dressed myself 
all but my boots, which I took in my hand, so as to 
make no noise in the passage-ways or in descending 
the stairs, and found as I had hoped a window easily 
raised on the lower floor, out of which I swung my- 
self, and was soon hastening in the direction of Miller's 
printing office. I could at least give warning if I saw 
any indications of an attack, but beyond this I had no 
clearly formed resolve what to do when I got there. 
Circumstances, however, with their general kind in- 
clination to act as guides in difficult cases decided the 
matter for me. For when I was within a few rods of 
the office, 1 saw a bright flame leap suddenly up, dying 
down with a sizzle, as if somebody had dashed water 
on it. 

I quickened my walk to a run and joined the chase 
with two others after the flying incendiary. But it 
was a hopeless pursuit for he had the start at the out- 
set and the imminent danger of being caught seemed 
to lend him wings. Paul ing and breathless the pur- 
suers gave up the chase one by one and came back. 
One of the two, puffing and blowing and uttering most 
extraordinary ejaculations was Sam Toller! But 
when I turned and laid my hand on his shoulder, in 
the excitement of the moment I came near being mis- 
taken for an enemy. 

u Hands off ! Help!" shouted Sam, with a strength 



170 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

of lungs that brought his companion instantly to the 
rescue, prepared to give me rough treatment under the 
impression that I was an accomplice of the villain they 
had been pursuing. 

u Why, Sam. Don't you know me Leander Sev- 
erns?" I said; at which the man who had collared m$ 
let go his grip, and the astonished Sam nearly shook 
my hand off in the vehemence of his surprise and 
gladness. 

"Know ye? Ruther guess I do. But how in the 
name o' creation should I think of seein' you here, 
this time o' night?' 1 And I imagined a slight shade 
of suspicion in Sam's voice. 

14 But I wasn't thinking of seeing you either, Sam," 
I answered, coolly. 

u Wall, I guess we're about even. How's the Captain 
and the rest of the folks?" 

" Nicely, Sam. And how has life gone with you 
since you left Brownsville?" 

"Tips and downs," answered Sam, philosophically. 
" That's what I take it life is to most folks. I've got a 
job at teamin' now. That kinder suits me, not havin' 
to buckle down to one place. We were calkerlatin' to 
load with flour early in the morning and start for the 
canal. And we'd just camped down in our wagons to 
go to sleep when we see the fire. It all happened 
providential like. Ye see there's a providence to 
a'most everything that does happen, if folks would 
only stop to think about it," added Sam, who had lost 
none of his old gift at moralizing. 

The wood-work had been thoroughly saturated with 
inflammable material, while a quaniity of combustible 
stuff, all ready to ignite as soon as the match should be 



\ A NIGHT IN" BATAVIA. 171 

applied, showed that the incendiary understood his 
business, for the fire had been set directly under the 
stairway, and nothing but the timely appearance of the 
two teamsters had prevented a serious conflagration. 
Some of the village people, roused by the alarm, now 
gathered about, while Sam and I indulged ourselves in 
a brief aside. 

u I might ha' known you were too much a chip of 
the old block to go in for any sich rascally doings," 
said the former, when 1 detailed to him my experience 
with the suspicious looking stranger; " but I tell ye, 
Leander Severns" and Sam, leaning up against his 
team spoke low but with mysterious earnestness " if 
I ain't no Mason I've got a kind of open sesame, as ye 
may say, among them that are. And only the other 
day I fell in with a chap that axed for a ride on my 
team; I found out he was a Mason and gave him the 
grip and that loosened his tongue to talk about what 
Captain Morgan is doing. And that ain't the fust 
time nuther I've talked with Masons about it. And I 
tell ye I don't like this style of talk; it's the round- 
about kind that goes all about the bush to say one 
word; and that word, to speak it out plain, is jist mur- 
der r 

I was silent, for I too had heard plenty of such 
" round-about" talk among Masons and by this time 
had begun to surmise what it meant. Sam continued: 

" I wouldn't give a four-penny for Colonel Miller's 
chance, nor Captain Morgan's nuther, if this thing 
goes on. Tain't in human nater to be all the time like 
a treed coon, and when they're off their guard, why 
then " and Sam ended his sentence with a significant 
gesture, for it was nothing less than to lift his hand 



172 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

and draw it obliquely across'his throat the penal sign 
of the Entered Apprentice. 

" Nonsense, Sam," I answered; but, I must confess, 
rather faintly. " The law of the land is against mur- 
der, I believe; and, mad as the Masons are against 
Morgan and Miller, I don't think they would take their 
lives and run the risk of hanging." 

u Wall, I hinted as much to that Mason I told ye 
about, that axed me for a ride on my team, but softly 
like, ye know; I didn't want to mad him and lawful 
sus! you'd a thought to hear him talk that we were all 
governed by their Grand Lodge and Grand Chapters, 
and what not. ' What are yer sheriffs ?' sez he. ' Who 
are yer jurors, and yer lawyers, and yer judges on the 
bench? Who are yer army officers? W T ho are yer 
constables and yer justices of the peace? Who's yer 
Governor? and hain't he got the pardonin' power, I 
want to know?' I knew it was jest so, and I laid my 
hand on my mouth. I hadn't another word to say, but 
I tell ye it jest stuck in my crop. Tain't a right state 
of things no how. Wall, I guess I'll camp down agin. 
I'm real glad to have come across ye, anyway. Jest 
give my compliments to the lodge, will ye? Tell 'em I 
ain't quite ready to jine 'em yet till I see how this 
little affair is coming out." 

And Sam again disposed of himself comfortably with 
his team, the excitement having in some measure sub- 
sided, while I pursued my way back to the tavern feel- 
ing very wide awake indeed. So this was Masonry! a 
mighty secret power that laid its plans in the dark and 
carried them out in defiance of every law both of God 
and man. But as yet my eyes were only half opened. 
I considered the whole thing as the work of low-bred 



A NIGHT Itf BATAVIA. 173 

scoundrels, but at the same time I could not help sus- 
pecting that men to whom it would be scarcely truth 
or charity to apply such a term, winked at the lawless 
proceedings, if they did nothing more. 

Of course the affair was duly discussed the next 
morning at the Park Tavern over an abundant break- 
fast, mine host moving quietly about, attentive as 
usual to the wants of every guest, but having very little 
to say himself except when obliged to reply to some 
direct remark. I began to watch this quiet, grave-faced 
man with a new interest, having learned accidentally 
from one of my fellow-lodgers that he was a third de- 
gree Mason like myself. What did he think of the 
institution? I wondered. That it was of direct heaven- 
ly origin and this attempt at arson a mere incidental 
freak on the part of some misguided member? a view 
of the case which was being held forth with much 
ardor by a gentleman of ministerial dress and counte- 
nance, who took pains to inform his audience that " he 
was both a Royal Arch Mason and a Baptist clergy- 
man; that he would as soon think of speaking against 
Christianity as against Masonry, and considered those 
that did no better than infidels." 

u Ain't there something in the Bible," put in the 
jocular man previously mentioned, u about ; a strong 
ass crouching between two burdens?' One religion, 1 
take it, is all human nater can stand under, and I don't 
blame any poor fellow unless he is an ass outright, for 
turning infidel when he has to shoulder two.' 1 And 
doubling up his flapjack, the buttered side in, and cut- 
ting it across with mathematical precision, he proceed- 
ed to dispose of it in just four scientifically propor- 
tioned mouthfuls, while the other, not quite certain 



174 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

whether there might not be a personal reference in- 
tended by this allusion to the animal with the short 
name and long ears, looked as if he did not know 
whether it was best for his dignity to let it pass in 
silence or attempt a reply, and before he could make 
up his' mind a sudden diversion stopped the conversa- 
tion and converted the whole tableful into listeners to 
a startling piece of news Captain Morgan had been 
kidnapped ! Having rather imprudently left his board- 
ing place, which was somewhat out of the village, a 
little before sunrise, he had been roughly seized, thrust 
into a carriage and driven rapidly off in the direction 
of Canandaigua all to recover a shirt and cravat 
which he was alleged to have stolen when in that vil- 
lage the preceding May. So cunningly had the whole 
plot been laid that even those most in sympathy with 
Morgan could see nothing in it but a legal process that 
mast take its course, however much it might be re- 
gretted that such a thing should happen at this par- 
ticular juncture. 

"It's all in the way of law, and that won't be inter- 
fered with, you know," said one. " It's just the affair 
of last August over again." 

" But that was rather different," interposed another. 
" Who's to go bail for him in Canandaigua, fifty miles 
away? Here in Batavia he was among friends." 

"And his poor wife and children," said another. 

" That's too bad, of course," replied the one who had 
first spoken, u but men with wives and children are 
arrested for debt every day. I don't see how it can be 
helped." 

In all the excited exclamation and questioning I 
noticed that Mr. Greene bore but little part, yet to this 



A NIGHT IN BATAVIA. 175 

day 1 remember the expression of his face on reception 
of the tidings neither startled nor disturbed, but out- 
wardly calm as a hero is calm, who, called upon to 
act in a crisis such as comes to few, stands prepared, 
fearless of consequences, to do his duty, cost what it 
may. 

u You see it is all legal, perfectly legal," pronounced 
the Masonic clergyman. " Unfortunate circumstances 
usually do attend cases of this nature. That is always 
to be expected. We must not allow our feelings, which 
of course are right in themselves, to blind our judg- 
ment or make us wish to interfere with the law." 

'"Yes; I see, I see," said the man who had spoken of 
Morgan's wife and children, and who perhaps was 
thinking of his own. 

And to this conviction all minds seemed to finally 
settle down. It was a pity, of course, but the majestic 
progress of the law must not be obstructed. 

Meanwhile, to Morgan's young wife, with her two 
infant children, this was but the beginning of long, 
weary days of waiting and watching for a step that 
came not that would never come again. God pity 
her! 




CHAPTER XX. 

AN EXCITING SCENE. 

FTER leaving the Park Tavern (which I 
was to visit under circumstances less 
memorable, perhaps, but with much 
clearer knowledge of many things, the 
character of my host included, than I 
then possessed) my intention was to trans- 
act my business as speedily as possible 
and resume my journey homeward without 
delay. But Mr. Jedediah Mills had gone to a 
neighboring village on some errand which would keep 
him till the middle of the afternoon, and, under the 
circumstances, though inwardly chaffing at the unex- 
pected delay, I was glad to accept good Mrs. Mills' in- 
vitation to dinner. 

Is the reader so fortunate as to hold in his remem- 
brance the picture of a well-appointed farm-house 
kitchen of the oldeii times? Does he remember the 
huge oven, out of which came the smoking brown 
bread, the pumpkin pies, the Indian pudding, baked to 
that perfection of comely toothsomeness which no 
modern u range" can ever hope to rival? Does he 
remember the whole-hearted hospitality that welcomed, 
him, that heaped his plate with every goodly viand 9 



AN EXCITING SCENE. 177 

and made him " feel at home " in the truest meaning 
of the phrase? If so, he can imagine the style of en- 
tertainment without more description, and I will pro- 
ceed at once to introduce him to the family. 

Mr. Jedediah Mills was a prosperous farmer owning 
a large farm in Tonawanda, which he tilled with his 
own hands and those of his two stalwart sons. In 
person he was tall, with keen eyes, a short, stubbed 
beard, thickly sprinkled with gray, and that peculiar 
development of head which is apt to mark an excess of 
the combative quality. Mrs. Mills, fresh-faced and 
motherly, assisted by her daughter, Hannah, with oc- 
casional seasons of " hired help,'' brewed and baked, 
pickled and preserved, and made butter and cheese; and 
with all these multitudinous occupations found time to 
read and sew, to make broth for an invalid, or tidy up 
a neighbor's sick-room all with the most perfect un- 
consciousness that they were doing anything in the 
least remarkable. 

Hannah was just like her name, if the reader re- 
members the meaning of the old Hebrew derivative, 
"kind, gracious." She had none of Rachel's bright 
bloom and quick, imperious ways; she was not fair and 
spiritual like Mary Hagan, but was womanly and capa- 
ble and something else besides. The soul that looked 
out of her honest gray eyes was that essentially moth- 
erly soul, which is the same in the maiden and the 
matron of four-score; one that as the years went on 
would " abound more and more " in good works and 
practical sense; cheerful, helpful, courageous ready to 
advise, whether it concerned some question of domestic 
economy, such as the best way to take out mildew, or 
how to cut a garment from a yard less of material than 



178 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

is usually required, or some perplexing matter of duty 
or conscience that a ripe experience and a loving heart 
can solve better than all the philosophers and theolo- 
gians in the world. Anybody who has carefully studied 
the lives of reformers, will doubtless have noted the 
fact that their wives, either through some instinct of 
natural selection, or the kindly orderings of Provi- 
dence, are apt to be women of this peculiar calibre a 
remark whose connection with my story the reader 
does not probably see at the present moment. But I 
have a reason for giving him so special and particular 
an introduction to Hannah Mills, which will appear in 
due time. 

tk So they've actually took Captain Morgan off to 
Canandaigua;" began Mr. Mills, as soon as the " busi- 
ness r for which I had come was over and leisure al- 
lowed for other topics. u And on such a silly, trumped 
up charge. And then to think of their trying to set 
fire to Miller's printing office last night. Well, it does 
beat all what the world is coming to." And Mr. Mills 
looked decidedly sober as he felt it to be a very serious 
question indeed. 

I asked him if he was much acquainted with Colonel 
Miller. 

" I've known him these years; knew him when he 
was carrying on the publishing business in Saratoga, 
and. I'll tell you how he happens to be so against the 
Masons, though he has taken one degree, just as I was 
fool enough to do myself. It was about twenty years 
ago that he joined the lodge in Albany. He was going 
to bring out a new edition of an old book, I forget the 
name of it, that tells all about the secrets "- 

" Jachin and Boaz?'' I suggested. 



AH EXCITIHG SCEHE. 



179 

^ 0, yes Jachin and Boaz that was the name, come 
to think of it. So the Masons went to work to stop 
him by telling him Masonry was altered. Well, he 
joined' and took the Entered Apprentice degree, and he 
found that all the difference was just a change in the 
grip or the password. Of course it maddened him to 
be so lied to," graphically concluded Mr. Mills, il and 
the Colonel has been dead sfet against Masonry from 
that day to this." 

I had come to the conclusion that my entertainer, 
though a Mason of one degree, was not over friendly 
to the order, and now ventured to ask how long it was 
since he joined the lodge. 

" Well, let me see. I guess it ain't far from thirty 
years, for I remember it was just before our twins died 
Isaiah and Jeremiah. I was just through with a 
spell of typhus and was sitting by the fire feeling real 
discouraged about making ends meet, when my wife's 
brother came in. He'd talked to me about joining the 
Masons before, but I never took up with the idea at all 
till now I began to think it over, and I concluded if it 
really was as he said, the best thing I could do for my 
family to become a Mason, why, I was ready to do it. 
So I sent in my application right off and joined that 
very week. But, as I was saying, I had just been down 
to death's door with typhus fever, and I suppose I was a 
trifle weakly. Anyhow, after they had put me through 
the usual tomfoolery and went to take off the hoodwink 
I fainted dead away, so it was a good while before they 
could bring me to. And I haint been nigh the lodge 
since. My wife she's at me now sometimes to know 
what made me have that fainting fit, but I've never let 
on. And its the first and only secret I ever kept from 



180 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

Mehitabel. I wish I had never bound ray conscience 
in any such way, but an oath is an oath. Maybe when 
Morgan's book is printed she'll have a chance to find 
out." 

And Mr. Mills laughed as if he considered it in the 
light of a joke. But I had little heart to join in his 
merriment, feeling that if Rachel once knew those 
horribly silly secrets I could never look her in the face 
again. So 1 took occasion to suggest that possibly the 
volume in question might never be published at all. 

u Maybe not," assented my host, "for I believe they 
got hold of most of Morgan's papers when they ar- 
rested hin: last August. It's going to be serious busi- 
ness serious business, I'm afraid." 

And Mr. Mills sat for a moment seemingly absorbed 
in studying the texture of his pantaloons. I finally 
broke the silence by making some inquiry about the 
time for meeting the next stage. 

" Now you ain't go!ng to stir away from here to- 
night," answered the good man decidedly "I won't 
hear of it. I've got to go to Savin's Bend to-morrow. 
That's only a little this side of Brownsville, and I can 
take you along just as well as not." 

I could do nothing but yield to such kindly despot- 
ism and about noon the next day we entered Batavia, 
that village tying in our route. 

" I did calculate to make an earlier start," said Mr. 
Mills, as we. set out, u but something has been happen- 
ing all the morning, till 1 begun to think I never 
should get started. The minute I opened my eyes I 
remembered there was a weak place in the harness that 
ought to have been seen to before, and the boys were 
busy, so I had to see to getting it mended myself; and 



AN EXCITING SCENE. 181 

Merrill well, he's a good workman, but awful slow 
about taking hold of a job. Well, now, it is a queer 
thing, but I've often noticed it if matters begin to go 
wrong with me before breakfast, accidents are pretty 
sure to keep happening all day, just like a row of bricks 
you topple one over and the rest all go. But a bad 
beginning makes a prosperous ending, they say. We 
shall be in Savin's Bend by sundown, and you can take 
the coach from there to Brownsville/' 

And thus cheerfully conversing we arrived, as before 
stated, in Batavia, to find a new source of excitement 
agitating the village people. Colonel Miller had re- 
ceived warning from the same unknown source that,, 
at the ringing of the noon bell, the Masons had planned 
to rally in a body and attack his printing office, and 
though in his first alarm lie had prepared to have some 
handbills struck off containing an appeal for help from 
his fellow citizens in the crisis, he had been dissuaded 
from distributing them by the advice of his friends, 
who put no faith in the report. 

"What do you think about it, Mr. Mills?" I ven- 
tured to ask, when our informant, who averred that 
the very idea of such a daring outrage in open day was 
utter nonsense, had passed on. Mr Mills' answer was 
rather startling. It was merely to point with his whip 
down the street and utter the single ejaculation 

" There!" 

A crowd of forty or fifty men beseiged Miller's print- 
ing office, armed with clubs cut from hoop-poles. I 
saw two men, one of whom I supposed to be Miller 
the other I did not know, dragged into the street and 
carried off by the mob, and then I turned to Mr. Mills; 



182 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

" What does this mean?" I asked. " Where are they 
taking those men to ?" 

" It is a lawful arrest on some charge or other," said 
a bystander, who, like us, was watching the proceed- 
ings. " Jesse French, the constable, is there, so there 
must be something legal about it." 

Mr. Mills uttered something which sounded very 
much like an imprecation, either on the law or its 
representative in the person of Mr. Jesse French, and 
giving his horse a sharp touch with the whip, drove on, 
the mob having left with their prisoners. 

ki You and I are Masons," he said, grimly; and vol- 
umes could not have spoken more of the inward re- 
bellion that was raging in his soul. To be sure there 
was a difference between us the difference being a 
man who is only bound with one pair of fetters, and a 
man who is bound with three; but when the one pair 
is rivited and clinched beyond mortal power to break, 
what matters it, except for the added burden, whether 
the number be one or fifty? 

We were but a little way out of the village when 
the horse began to limp. The law that accidents, like 
disasters, follow each other, which many people besides 
Mr. Mills have discovered in the course of their daily 
living, still continued to govern events, for the horse 
had loosened a shoe, and there was nothing to be done 
but to stop at the nearest blacksmith's. We were 
about to start on again, when up the road came a cav- 
alcade of men, some in wagons, some on horseback 
all seemingly animated by one common object, which 
was, as we soon learned, the rescue of Colonel Miller 
from the hands of the Masonic mob, who, under color 



AN EXCITING SCENE. 

of law, were bearing him off the same dark way that 
Morgan had gone the day before. 

Fire flashed from the old man's eyes. He turned to 
me 

" Hang it all! I don't care if I am a Mason! I 
won't stand and see a man like Colonel Miller kidnapped 
in open daylight without lifting a finger to help him. 
But then," he added, hesitatingly, u seeing that you are 
a third-degree Mason, I don't know as I ought to do 
anything that will get you into trouble. And I sup- 
pose you are in a hurry to get home besides." 

ki Never mind me, Mr. Mills," 1 answered, for his 
spirit was contagious, " I am too far from Brownsville 
to be recognized. And they seem to be going the same 
way we are. We may as well join them." And so we 
two Masons, in company with the rescuing party, 
swept on up to Stafford, meeting the others where they 
had halted at a stone building, the upper part of which 
was occupied by a Masonic lodge into which Colonel 
Miller had been taken for safe keeping, the other 
prisoner, Captain Davids, having been released. A 
lawyer by the name of Talbot had accompanied the 
party from Batavia, arid now demanded entrance into 
the lodge-room, which demand was refused. But the 
party pushed their way, Mr. Talbot leading, into the 
room, where a curious scene was transpiring. There 
stood Colonel Miller, a helpless prisoner, while one of 
his captors stood over him brandishing a naked sword 
over his head and uttering loud threats in which we 
heard the name of Morgan mingled as the door burst 
open. 

" This is no court of justice," said Mr. Talbot, in a 
firm, clear voice, stepping up and taking hold of 



184 HOLDER WITH COiiDS. 

Colonel Miller's arm. u You must go on to Le Roy 
where the warrant was issued." And as the men of 
the hoop-poles, having laid so much stress 011 legal 
forms when they arrested their prisoner, could not well 
make resistance now their own weapons were turned 
against them. A way was cleared; Colonel Miller, 
closely guarded, was ordered into a wagon, and we 
naturally supposed that nothing now remained but to 
proceed directly to Le Roy. 

But the opposing part}' were fertile in shifts and ex- 
pedients. They were not in the smallest hurry to go 
on to Le Roy, knowing very well that the case would 
drop through as soon as they appeared before a magis- 
trate. Colonel Miller was ordered out of the wagon, 
then ordered in again, then ordered out, in the most 
capricious manner, all apparently to consume time, 
while Mr. Talbot, in stern and angry tones, was de- 
manding of the constable why he did not do his duty 
and carry the prisoner on to Le Roy. 

" Easy enough to see why. They hain't got no case 
against him," whispered Mr. Mills, excitedly. 4t I'm 
afraid I've come about as nigh swearing these ten min- 
utes past as a Christian man conld and not do it." 

And, apparently relieved by the confession, Mr. Mills 
leaned forward in his wagon to watch this extraordina- 
ry scene. But I was too much attracted by a face that 
I saw and recognized among the crowd of Masons, and 
which I was certain recognized me, to pay much atten- 
tion to his remark. It was Darius Fox. How did he 
happen to be here, thirty miles from Brownsville^ en- 
gaged in this evil work? But I did not mention my 
discovery to Mr. Mills, and after a while the whole 
noisy and excited assemblage moved on towards Le Roy 



A1ST EXCITING SCENE. 185 

with many stops by the way, till finally the party hav- 
ing Colonel Miller in charge halted at a tavern for 
supper, and after a brief consultation with Mr. Talbot 
we saw the former leave the wagon as if released and 
start off in the direction of Batavia. But there was a 
rush made headed by the constable French, mid he was 
once more a prisoner. This, however, gave occasion 
for repeating the demand with greater urgency to take 
him before a magistrate. It was at last acceded to, 
atid before Judge Barton occurred the strangest scene 
of all. The constable Jesse French, so active in ar- 
resting him, oddly disappeared, while neither plaintiff 
nor witnesses came forwaid to support the charge 
against Colonel Miller, who was accordingly set at 
liberty. But in a few moments after he had left the 
justice-room there was a hallooing and shouting down 
the street. Jesse French and his posse had reappeared 
and were trying to arrest him again. 

There was a rush of Colonel Miller's friends to the 
rescue. And I have here to record a most extraordinary 
feat of arms on the part of Mr. Jedediah Mills who 
could by no means sit quietly in his wagon, but jumped 
nimbly out, forgetting his three-score years, and joined 
in the melee with as much ardor as if he had also quite 
forgotten the pressure of the cable-tow which perhaps 
he had. 

Three times there was a rush and a rescue. The 
third time right and might prevailed, and Colonel 
Miller was put into a stage and driven rapidly home- 
ward. 

Mr. Mills jumped into the wagon and wiped his 
heated brow. 

" This is about the hardest afternoon's work I ever 



186 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

did. I'd rather break up new land all day. Well, I'm 
going on to Savin's Bend. I've been promising old 
Aunt Dorcas Smith a visit this some time. And she is 
given to entertaining strangers. She'll take you in 
over night and be glad to." 

But I chose instead to take the night coach to 
Brownsville, and reached home just as the glow of 
dawn was flushing the eastern sky. 




CHAPTER XXI. 

THE MYSTERIOUS CARRIAGE. 

ACHEL was by nature and habit an early 
riser, and as I came up to the house in 
the gray dusk of morning, she herself 
stood in the open doorway breathing in 
the sweet, fresh air; and then, suddenly 
turning her head, she saw me coming up 
the walk, and uttered a quick cry of pleas- 
ure. 

" I really began to feel worried for fear some- 
thing had happened to you, Leander," she said. u We 
were expecting you home sooner." 

And I, not caring to enter into a detailed account of 
the strange scenes of yesterday, only laughed as I re- 
turned her kiss of welcome at what I called "her fool- 
ish fears," and told her that I had been unexpectedly 
detained. 

At that instant a low rumble of approaching wheels 
made us both turn our eyes to the street, and we saw a 
common hack carriage dr've by, the curtains closely 
drawn and the horses looking weary and jaded as if 
from a night of hard travel this latter circumstance 
being the principal thing that attracted our attention 
to the vehicle, although Rachel remarked as she leaned 



188 HOLDER WITH COKDS. 

forward to catch a last glimpse as it was disappearing 
around a curve of the road 

" Strange that people want to travel such a beautiful 
morning as this with all the curtains down." 

For it was one of those delicious mornings that 
sometimes comes in September, cool and dewy and fresh 
as any in early June, though it promised to be hot 
farther on in the day when the sun should reach its 
meridian. Still there was nothing in the appearance 
of the closed carriage unusual enough to excite more 
than a passing comment. And then Rachel hurried 
in to see to the breakfast while I took a general view 
of matters and things about the farm, and thought 
over yesterday's events in Batavia, finding a constant 
and ever recurring source of uneasiness in the fact that 
Darius Fox was there and saw me in the party of 
Miller's friends. It was easy enough to say that " I 
didn't care, and it was none of his business anyhow," 
when 1 knew perfectly well that I did care, and how 
easily he could make it his business if so disposed. 

u Now do tell me what detained you so," said Rachel, 
as soon as we were seated at the breakfast table. u Not 
bad luck, I hope." 

And considering that she would probably hear sooner 
or later what was going on in Batavia. I related the 
whole story, to which she listened in wondering silence, 
only giving her head an emphatic nod of approval 
when I told her of my own share in the events of the 
day. 

" You were on the right side, Leander just where I 
always want to see you." 

" But it might get me into trouble," I said, cautious- 
ly (I had concluded not to say anything to her about 



THE MYSTERIOUS CARRIAGE. 189 

my seeing Darius Fox, the valiant, armed with his 
hoop-pole, in the company of Masonic rioters), "if it 
should be known by the lodge that I was one of the 
party that rescued Colonel Miller." 

" Why?" asked Rachel, quickly. " Of course what 
Masons were engaged in the affair must have been of 
the baser sort. They can't hurt you an} T ." 

0, my innocent Rachel! But it was not easy to un- 
deceive her when 1 was not more than half undeceived 
myself, and still considered the outrages on Morgan 
and Miller as the work of misguided individuals, rather 
than what it really was only the deliberate carrying 
out of the principles of the institution. For though I 
had seen enough of Masonry by this time to fear its 
power to vex and annoy, of the iron hand that could 
smite in secret, and, most horrible thing of all, so en- 
slave the souls and consciences of men as to make even 
ministers and deacons consenting to the bloody deed, I 
knew nothing as yet. 

" I don't like the way things are going on, Leander," 
was my grandfather's comment. " These lawless pro- 
ceedings only dishonor Masonry. No good institution 
needs to be defended by violence and fraud. As I was 
telling Elder Gushing only the other day, if Masonry 
is of God, neither Morgan nor Miller can overthrow 
it. And if it isn't " my grandfather came to a pause, 
and there was such a look on his face as that old Roman 
might have worn when he delivered up his erring and 
yet darling son to the axe of the executioner "if it 
isn't, then it is of the devil, and the sooner it is thrown 
back on his hands the better." 

And having uttered this startling sentiment my 
grandfather closed his lips and said no more. 



100 HOLDEK WITH 

Neither Rachel nor I thought again of the strange 
carriage we had seen in the morning till it was referred 
to by Miss Loker. 

" It must have been the same one Miss Lawton was 
telling about seeing. She was standing at her chamber 
window and saw it drive up and stop a little way from 
Deacon Brown's on the back road a yellow carriage 
with gray horses. And she see the driver get off and 
go somewhere after a couple of fresh horses, and when 
he came back with them they lookecl just like the dea- 
con's new span. And that ain't all. My brother's 
wife's cousin, Nathan Leach, that keeps the toll-gate 
up at Platt's Corner, says he knew the driver, one of 
the foremost men of the place, and a man that wouldn't 
be likely to turn stage driver without there was some 
very particular occasion for it. And the queer part of it 
was, he handed Nahum the toll without saj T ing a word 
and then walked off quick to where the carriage was 
standing two or three rods away. And he didn't an- 
swer even when Nahum said, l How d'ye do?' You see 
it was in the night, and the carriage drove up kinder 
softly and mysterious with the curtains all down, and 
no more sound of anybody inside than if it had been a 
hearse. Why, it gave him a real ghostly feeling, 
Nahum says. And he hollered out loud enough to 
wake himself if he was dreaming, ' What's the mat- 
ter?' 'Nothing,' says the man, never stopping or 
turning his head; and then he mounted the box and 
the carriage drove off just as it had come." 

But my grandfather only uttered an energetic 
"Pooh!" when Miss Loker had ended her uncanny 
recital. 

u Maybe Nahum was fast asleep, I wouldn't won- 



THE MYSTERIOUS CARRIAGE. 191 

der. Now I remember that when 1 was Captain of the 
Martha Ann, the crew were frightened half to death 
one night by something they thought was a ghost in 
the forecastle. Well, it did look just like a woman in 
white, with her hair floating about her face, and turned 
out to be nothing after all but a mischievous trick of 
one of the midshipmen.' 1 

u But there was certainly something very queer 
about it the carriage, I mean,' 1 persisted my mother, 
who did not feel quite satisfied at so easy a disposition 
of the subject. 

<l Well," answered Miss Loker, who was not addicted 
to smoothing down hard facts either in Scriptures or 
human life, " Nahum says, if it had been a stranger 
instead of a man so well known to him, as a church 
member and a town officer beside, he wouldn't have had 
a doubt but what he was on some evil errand. And 
says I, ' Nahum, you'd better take your Bible and read 
about David, before you warrant a church member for 
not committing murder and adultery, if the Spirit 
leaves him to himself. It's only by the grace of God 
that we stand a minute without falling into sin, even 
the best of us!' says I." 

" That is very true, 11 answered my grandfather, seri- 
ously. 

And there ensued a period of silence such as usually 
follows the utterance of one of those great, mysterious, 
awful truths that hedge in our finite weakness with the 
eternal strength. 

Through town and village and hamlet all that day 
and night the closed and silent carriage drove horses 
and drivers supplied as if by magic so as to cause 
scarcely more than a moment's detention in the whole 



192 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

route ot one hundred and twenty miles. And within 
sat a man, gagged and bound, who knew that every 
step of the way was leading him to death not on the 
scaffold where friend and foe alike might witness his 
last heroic stand for truth, but a death in secret, bitter 
with prolonged suspense and agonizing uncertainty, 
and all that could add poignancy to the martyr's doom. 

Who shall say what thoughts filled the bosom of 
that pale, silent man, as the faces of wife and children 
rose before him on that strange journey! Were there 
moments of weakness when he half regretted the awful 
sacrifice? moments when flesh and spirit failed him, 
when the tempter whispered, " Yon have thrown away 
your life and what have you accomplished?" 

Doubtless there were, for William Morgan was 
human like the rest of us, but surely the noblest of 
earth's martyrs and heroes never rose more grandly 
triumphant over mortal weakness than the man who 
could say to his foes with a cruel death staring him in 
the face, "I have fought for my country ', and as a 

soldier I would die for her" 

# # '# * * * * 

The scene changes. Betrayed under the mask of 
friendship, taken from the jail where, however illegal 
and unjust his imprisonment, he was at least under the 
protecting arm of law. he is whirled farther and farther 
away from wife and child and friend, till finally a 
gloomy prison house rises to view over which floats the 
stars and stripes, as if in bitter mockery of him who, 
because he has dared, with a patriot's noble scorn of 
consequences, to expose the dark, secret power which 
is plotting against his country's free institutions, is 
thrust into its gloomiest hold never again to see the 



THE MYSTERIOUS CARRIAGE. 193 

light of day for when he is taken out it is a moonless 
starless night, fit shroud for the tragedy which follows, 
as the river closes dark and chill over the hapless vic- 
tim, and the murderers chosen by lot for the horrid 
deed of blood row back swiftly and silently to the 
shore, and, disbanding, go their separate ways. William 
Morgan's wife is a widow, her children fatherless. 

Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, or else 
would the wicked triumph, and law and justice be 
foiled at every turn, while over the martyr's name and 
memory, Falsehood, that familiar spirit of the lodge, is 
busy erasing, defiling, destroying till at last a gener- 
ation rises to whom Morgan's story is an idle tale, a 
mere myth of the past? The deadly wound of the 
Beast has healed, and again his worshipers ask boast- 
ingly and tauntingly, u Who is like unto the Beast? 
who is able to make war with him ?" 

But there is One who in righteousness doth judge 
and make war, and ranged under his banner I see a 
small but faithful host, who, counting not their lives 
dear unto them have gone forth to attack the monster 
in his stronghold. He chafes and rages, but the arch- 
ers wound him sore. The fiat has gone forth against 

him. 

******* 

I look again. In Batavia's quiet cemetery where the 
martyr has slept for over fifty years in his nameless and 
unhonored grave, I see a monument rise to his memo- 
ry. It is crowned with his statue, and I look once 
more on the grave, noble, thoughtful face seen so long 
ago in the Canandaigua stage coach. It is the free-will 
offering of men, women and children. The hard- 
earned pennies of the poor and the dollars of the rich 



194 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

have gone side by side to help build it, and the dark 
system of falsehood trembles to its foundation, for like 
the trump of doom in its ears is the witness William 
Morgan bears once more through those lips of stone. 

Thank God that I live to see the day! 

But let me wake from these dreamings, remembering 
that it is not in 1882, but in 1826, that the scenes of 
my story are now laid. 

Contrary to my fears no notice was taken by the 
lodge of my share in the rescue of Colonel Miller a 
reticence on the part of Darius Fox at which I silently 
marvelled, little thinking that my mischievous brother 
Joe was all the time holding over his head a whole- 
some fear of that particular mode of punishment 
threatened by Scripture on the crafty who lay in wait 
for their fellow men " He shall be taken in his own 
snare." 

The tact was he had once been a suiter for Rachel's 
hand, and when he found that she would have none of 
him, some coolness of feeling towards his successful 
rival might be naturally expected to spring up, while 
on my part, dislike to a certain arrogance of manner 
had widened the breach, though we still preserved an 
outward semblance of cordiality. 

Elder Gushing reported in the lodge " that effectual 
measures had been taken to suppress Morgan's book, 
and though he was not at liberty to state, there and 
then, precisely what those measures were, all good and 
faithful Masons might rest assured that no further 
alarm .need be apprehended of any publication of Ma- 
sonic secrets to the world, and he trusted that all true 
brothers and companions would join him in a fitting 
tribute of praise to the great Architect of the universe 



THE MYSTERIOUS CARRIAGE. 195 

who had been pleased to bring confusion on the adver- 
saries of their ancient and glorious order." 

Though I saw nods and winks pass between particular 
members of the lodge, the awful meaning couched 
under those smooth-sounding words was as yet a sealed 
book to me; but when the hour for "refreshment" 
arrived there was an unloosening of tongues, and a 
very curious style of talk succeeded the Elder's speech. 

"I say," said one, "there's big game in Niagara 
River for anybody that wants to go fishing there." 

A laugh chorused this statement, while another in- 
quired 

u What sort? Bass or sturgeon?" 

u Well, it is an awkward sort of fish to handle, and 
not very common, so they say," answered Darius, coolly 
draining his tumbler. " I understand there are parties 
out already with their nets and lines, but if they ever 
haul it to shore they'll be good fellows." 

I had listened to the talk at first with a mere feeling 
of wonder as to what all the chaffing could be about, 
till the thought flashed over me with a suddenness that 
made me turn sick and giddy: Theij were talking about 
Morgan ! 

" What do you mean?" I asked of one of the speak- 
ers as carelessly as I could. 

" Our young brother seeks for more light;" answered 
Darius, with a slight sneer. 

" A most laudable desire, but at present he must be 
content to learn the truth in riddles," said Elder Gush- 
ing, who, though not one of the group, stood where he 
could overhear the talk, and had once or twice joined 
in the laughter. And what wonder that the dark 



196 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

suspicion melted suddenly away under the genial in- 
fluence of the Elder's benign smile! 

I was going home from the lodge when I heard quick 
steps behind, and turning round saw, to my astonish- 
ment, for it was a bright moonlight night, Mark Sted- 
man. 

" How did you happen not to send us word you were 
coming?" I asked, the first salutations over. " But 
Rachel will be pleased enough to see you." 

"You know I am fond of surprises," was the rather 
evasive answer. " They don't know anything about it 
there at home. I am coming to see you and Rachel 
first." 

I ushered him into the great comfortable kitchen. 
Rachel was not in the- room, but a candle was burning 
on the table, and as its light fell on Mark's face I saw 
that it looked worn and haggard. 




CHAPTER XXII. 

MARK RELATES HIS MASONIC EXPERIENCES. 

ACHEL, hearing our footsteps, came hur- 
riedly in from another room, but stopped 
short with an exclamation of glad sur- 
prise -as soon as she' saw who I had with 
me. 

k> 0, Mark ! How does this happen ? Did 
you work so hard all the holidays that you 
have to come home in term time to be nursed 
up, you poor, foolish boy?" 
*' I have come home for good, Rachel," answered 
Mark, quietly. " I have lost my situation; but Masonic 
influence gained it for me in the first place, and I have 
nothing to complain of if I lose it by the same means." 
Rachel and I sat down in astonished silence by 
Mark's side and waited for him to explain. But in- 
stead of doing so he turned to me with the startling 
inquiry 

u Leander, do you know what the Masons have done 
with Captain Morgan?" 
"No." 

'" Do you have your suspicions?" 
" Yes." 
'"Well, I know where he is." 



198 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

Now, in Brownsville, as well as through all the 
region generally, the sudden disappearance of Captain 
Morgan had become the one exciting subject of talk. 
It was known that on arriving in Canandaigua no case 
was found against him, and the magistrate had ordered 
his discharge, when he was again arrested on an alleged 
claim of two dollars and thrown into jail, from which 
he had been taken on the night of September 12th, 
and carried off amid his struggles to escape and cries 
of ki murder," in the manner described in the last chap- 
ter. In un-Masonic circles there was a general hope 
and belief, shared by not a few in the lodge, who, like 
myself, were not admitted into its secret counsels, 
either from a suspected lack of Masonic zeal, or because 
they had not advanced far enough in Masonic myster- 
ies, that he was kept concealed somewhere irs Canada, 
and when no further danger was to be apprehended 
from the publication of his book, would be set at liber- 
ty rumors of this kind being very rife, though if their 
origin had been carefully traced out, a paragraph from 
some newspaper in the interests of the lodge would 
have been found to be in most cases their starting 
point, For this reason Mark's words aroused more 
curiosity than surprise. 

u I was told the other day that Morgan's place of 
imprisonment was discovered, but I hardly credit the 

report. 1 ' 

u Leander, his prison is one whose doors will only 
open at the sound of the last trumpet; Captain Mor- 
gan lies at the bottom of Niagara River." 
' Rachel uttered a low cry of ho'rror. I was silent- 
struck dumb with the reflection of Elder Cushing's 
speech and the coarse, horrible jesting which had sue- 



MARK'S MASONIC EXPERIENCES. 199 

ceeded it. Every allusion made by Darius Fox and the 
group of which he was the center, most of them Royal 
Arch Masons like himself, grew clear as daylight. 
They were talking about the murder of Captain Mor- 
gan. Elder Gushing knew it and that benign smile 
and smooth speech was intended to blind me as well as 
some others in the lodge to a truth it was thought best 
not to have us learn too suddenly. 

" How do you know Captain Morgan has been mur- 
dered?" I inquired at last. 

" From the best authorities possible Masons them- 
selves. Full five weeks before he was kidnapped in 
Canandaigua, I heard the subject discussed at a meeting 
of the Chapter, in a way that left no doubt on my 
mind what the fraternity intended. A minister of the 
Gospel, a Royal Arch Mason, gave me my first informa- 
tion that Captain Morgan was writing out the secrets 
of Masonry. He said that Morgan had forfeited his 
life by the act, and he himself would be willing to be 
one of a number to put him out of the way, for he be- 
lieved God regarded the Masonic institution with so 
much complacency that he would never allow his mur- 
derers his executioners was the word he used to 
suffer for the deed. I understood from a reliable source 
that Morgan and Miller were both apprised of this 
danger and prepared for defence or I should have* sent 
them warning." 

" But how does it happen " 

il That I know so much more about this horrible busi- 
ness than you?" said Mark, anticipating my unuttered 
question. " You are only a Master Mason ; you have 
promised to keep every secret .of a brother Mason, 
murder and treason excepted. But lama Royal Arch 



200 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Mason; 23 I have promised to keep all a companion's 
secrets, murder and treason not excepted. Further- 
more, I am what they call a high Mason; as high as 
Elder Gushing himself. I took the Ineffable Degrees 
in the city of New York. I am a Knight Templar; I 
have drank of wine from a human skull, and over the 
horrible draught I have invoked in awful terms a 
double damnation on my soul if I violate the least of 
my Masouic obligations. You and Rachel look horri- 
fied. I don't wonder; but I speak the words of truth 
and soberness when I affirm that this is actually what 
I and every other Knight Templar has done. It is 
called 4 the sealed libation ' 24 because it seals all other 
obligations the candidate has taken or will take. 
Henceforth he is bound by double penalties a horrible 
death and perdition on his soul, both invoked by his own 
lips. What wonder that the secret 25 of Morgan's mur- 
der can pass safely and silently from one Knight Tem- 
plar to another without the smallest fear of disclosure!" 

" But if this is so, Mark, how dare you " and again I 
stopped, while Mark completed the unfinished inquiry: 

" How dare I reveal all this, you mean? But it is a 
very small part of what I intend to reveal to the world 
should God spare my life. I am Masonry's slave no 
longer; I am Christ's freeman. And tf the foul insti- 
tution whose hands are red to-day with, the blood of 
Morgan should require my life also, may He give me 
strength not to shrink from the sacrifice!" 

tk But 0, Mark! ray Brother, be careful!" cried Rachel, 
turning pale, while I put in a word or two of caution. 
" Don't go to throwing away your young life, Mark. 

NOTE 23. "None that deserve the name can ever forget the ties of a Royal 
Arch Mason." Pierson's Traditions, p. 339. 

NOTE 24. " Libations are still used in some of the higher degrees of Ma- 
sonry. " Mackey's Lexicon, Art. Libation. 

NOTE 25, "One of the most notable features of Freemasonry one, certain- 
ly, which attracts, more than anything else, the attention of the profane world- 
is that vail of mystery that awful secrecy, behind which it moves and acts. 
From the earliest periods this has invariably been a distinctive characteristic of 
the institution ; and to-day, as of old, the first obligation of a Mason his supreme 
duty Is that of silence and secrecy." Sickens Ahiman Rezon, p. 61. 



MARK'S MASONIC EXPERIENCES. 201 

You can bear testimony in a quiet way, and do just as 
much good, perhaps more than by testifying publicly." 

But when once the martyr spirit is fully roused in 
man or woman, words of merely worldly prudence will 
go as far towards quenching it as water poured on 
Greek lire. 

u Ah, Rachel and Leander, you both love me, but 
you must, forgive me if I have already taken counsel of 
a higher wisdom than yours. Why should I continue 
to deny the Lord that bought me? If I have let fear 
and shame govern me in the past, must they hold a 
base dominion over me all my life? Never!" 

u But Mark" 

" He that loveth his life shall lose it. He that hat- 
eth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal ;*' 
answered Mark, solemnly. u I have learned not to 
fear them which kill the body. And if you want to 
know where, it was in an encampment of Knight 
Templars, when I saw the sword of every Sir Knight 
in the room drawn to charge upon me. a poor, shiver- 
ing, helpless wretch, because I refused either to drink 
wine from a human skull or take the blasphemous 
oath required of me, and was told by the Most Em- 
inent ' Pilgrim, you here see the swords of your com- 
panions drawn to defend you in the discharge of every 
duty we require of you. They are also drawn to avenge 
any violation of the rules of our order. We expect 
you to proceed! 1 For one instant I thought I would 
submit to anything, erven death itself first. And then 
a clergyman, who was an acquaintance of mine, and 
had accompanied me all the rest were utter strangers 
stepped forward and told me that he and the rest of 
the Sir Knights had taken the oath and drank of the 



HOLDEN WITS CORDS. 

fifth libation; that it was all perfectly proper, and 
would be qualified to my satisfaction. Fear accom- 
plished the rest. I drank the cup of a double curse, 
but better I had died a martyr's death on the points 
of those naked swords than have done it! Satan de- 
sired to have me that he might sift me as wheat; but 
now that I am converted shall I not strengthen my 
brethren, bound in these terrible meshes longing to 
escape, yet seeing no way of deliverance? Shall I not 
by revealing all I know of this monstrous system save 
other poor souls from being fooled and betrayed as I 
have been?" 

I looked at Mark in a wonder which was due to the 
fact that while his Masonic obligations to secrecy 
seemed to rest on him with the lightness of a feather's 
weight, I felt them as binding as ever on me, and did 
not understand how he, with his more delicate moral 
sense could dispose of them so easily. Mark must have 
understood the look, for he continued 

" Not a single one of those unholy vows has the 
least binding force on my conscience. Once they 
bound my whole soul and mind and will as with fetters 
of adamant, but now the law of the spirit of liberty in 
Christ Jesns hath made me free from the law of sin 
and death. Those vows were made to Satan and not to 
God. Shall I by continuing to regard them acknowl- 
edge hi? authority over me? Shall I have secret fel- 
lowship with the unfruitful works of darkness because 
too cowardly to come out boldly o*n the Lord's side and 
expose them? Shall I give the god of the lodge even 
a silent worship? for it has a god, and lately I have 
found out his name. Not Jehovah, maker and preserver 
of men; not Jesus Christ, our ever blessed Redeemer. 



MARK'S MASOKIC EXPERIENCES. 203 

His name is Baal, the sun-god of ancient Moab and 
idolatrous Israel. And in every lodge all over the land 
are practiced rites borrowed from the old pagan mys- 
teries; 26 the same that Ezekiel described in his vision: 
' Behold at the door of the temple of the Lord, between 
the porch and the altar were five and twenty men with 
their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their 
faces toward the east.' You and I. Leander, did exactly 
what those old idolatrous Jews did when we were con- 
ducted round the lodge three times with our faces 
towards the east. We, too, were worshiping the sun, 27 
or, call it by another name, Baal." 

"But how did you find out all this, Mark?" said I, 
in mingled astonishment and perplexity, greater, if 
possible, than when I sat in Benjamin Hagan's cabin 
and listened to the honest backwoods preacher as he 
weighed the boasted morality of the lodge in the scales 
of the Ten Commandments and found it wanting. 

u The murder of Morgan was the first thing that 
opened my eyes, and this little book," added Mark, at 
the same time drawing a small volume from his coat 
pocket, which he handed to me, u has, under God, been 
the instrument of converting me forever from the wor- 
ship of this false, unclean, red-handed deity of the 
lodge." 

I timied it over. It was entitled: " An inquiry into 
the Origin and Nature of Speculative Freemasonry, by 
Elder John Gr. Steams." Mark continued 
. " Quite as much for the crime of introducing this 
book to the notice of some of my Masonic acquaint- 
ances, as for my outspoken abhorrence of Captain 

NOTK 26.- " In the rite of circumambulation we find another ceremony bor- 
rowed from the Ancient Freemasonry that was practiced in the mysteries. * * * 
In making this procession great care was taken to move In imitation of the course 
of the sun." Pierson's Traditions, pp. 32-33. 

NOTE 27 " The Worshipful Master himself is a representative of the son." 
Morritfs Dictionary, Art. Sun. 



204 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

Morgan's murder, a hint was soon dropped me by the 
Faculty all high Masons that my resignation would 
be acceptable. Of course I resigned at once, though I 
let them know at the same time that I understood 
perfectly well the reason of my dismissal. Now you 
and Rachel know the whole story. I have come home 
a humbler, wiser, and I trust better man than when I 
went away. * I believe the Lord has a work waiting for 
me. Till he shows me when and how to take it up I 
shall go back and fill my old place on the farm. And 
now, Leander, I have a question to ask. Are you con- 
tent to remain longer with the institution that has 
taken the life of Morgan? 1 ' 

" No; and may heaven bear witness that I leave it 
henceforth forever," I answered, solemnly. And then 
Rachel, who had sat silent hitherto, gazing in blank 
bewilderment from one to the other, as what woman 
would not on discovering that her nearest male rela- 
tives have been secretly practicing heathenism, turned 
to me with the quick tears of a sudden joy in her eyes 

u Now you are mine, Leander, all mine! Nothing 
to come between us more. Thank God!" 

I clasped her hand silently, and it was like a second 
sealing of our marriage vows. 

. " Leander," said Mark, as we were parting for the 
night, U I know your grandfather is a zealous Mason. 
What does he say about this affair of Morgan's? 1 ' 

u Very little; but I think you will find it hard to 
convince him that Morgan is not alive and safe some- 
where in Canada," I answered. For the fact was, my 
grandfather, though hitherto the most easy and good 
natured of beings, had developed of late such a strange 
testiness in regard io this one particular subject, that 



MARK'S MASONIC EXPERIENCES. 205 

I hardly knew what to think of him. He refused to 
listen to the least^ hint of any suspicion on niy part 
that Morgan might have possibly fallen a victim to 
Masonic vengeance. "Don't talk nonsense to me, 
Leander," was his invariable way of disposing of the 
subject, and after a few attempts 1 finally shut my 
mouth and talked no more of the objectionable u non- 



sense. 1 ' 



The next morning we went over to see him. There 
had been a sharp frost during the night and my grand- 
father, who suffered much with rheumatism, and felt 
keenly the sudden oncoming of cold weather, we found 
seated in the kitchen which no one au-fait in the 
domestic economy of those primitive days will need to 
be informed was, in ordinary cases, the family sitting 
room enjoying the warmth of the bright fire blazing 
in the huge fire-place. He shook hands heartily with 
Mark, and the latter after replying to sundry surprised 
exclamations and inquiries from my mother and Miss 
Loker, took a seat beside him and quietly told the aw- 
ful tidings. 

But contrary to all my expectation there was no 
impatient outburst of disbelief on my grandfather's 
part. He sat for a moment not speaking a word, his 
head bowed and his eyes fixed on the floor. 

"I can bring proof, if that is necessary," said 
Mark, who felt as I did, at a loss to interpret his 
silence. 

" Proof ! I want no proof." And my grandfather 
rose up, tall, straight as in the days of his youth; and 
taking off the glistening Masonic badge that he had 
worn for so many years, he walked up to the fire blaz- 
ing on the hearth and deliberately flung it into the 



206 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

flames, while my mother and Miss Loker looked on, 
amazed. 

" I want no proof," he repeated. " It is all there 
in the Entered Apprentice oath. Fool that I was 
never to see it before!" 

And tottering back to his chair, the excitement over, 
my grandfather W^ed his gray head and wept. 




CHAPTER XXIII. 

AN EVENING IN THE LODGE. 

I HOUGH Captain Morgan's fate was by 
no means definitely settled in the popu- 
lar mind, the suspicion grew stronger 
day by day that he had been foully dealt 
with; and the low-muttered ground- 
swell of that coming whirlwind of indigna- 
tion which was to lay low every lodge and 
Chapter in the land, had already begun to 
make itself heard in the ears of the startled 
fraternity. As a result, a special meeting of Browns- 
ville lodge was soon called about a week after Mark's 
unexpected home-coming. To this meeting the latter 
announced decidedly his determination to go. 

"For pity's sake, Mark! What for?" I asked in 
surprise. " I should think you might have had enough 
of their confounded foolery by this time. I don't care 
if they summon me fifty times over; I am not going." 
" Nor would I, Leander, were it not that I feel called 
of the Lord to bear my testimony against the abomina- 
ble wickedness of Captain Morgan's abduction and 
murder. It is like a fire shut up in my bones night 
and day. And what better place than right here in 



HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

-Brownsville lodge, among friends and acquaintances, 
to stand up and testify?" 

Now this "testifying" spirit in Mark had already 
begun to make me uneasy, with the fear of what 
might follow if allowed to have its way unchecked by 
a little prudent advice, which I accordingly proceeded 
to administer. 

" 0, come, Mark; it won't do the least bit of good. 
You'll only stir up a hornet's nest about your ears. 
And as to their being old friends and neighbors in 
Brownsville lodge, you know precious little of human 
nature if you think it will make any difference with 
their reception of what you have to say. They will 
only be ten times more bitter and abusive on that very 
account." 

All of which was hard matter-of-fact truth, but it 
failed to move Mark an iota. The Lord had given him 
a message to speak in the ears of the lodge that would 
probably make them tingle; that would alienate some 
and anger others; but of all such merely human con- 
siderations he felt that sublime carelessness which be- 
longs to intense conviction. For wonderfully had 
Mark advanced in spiritual life since his soul burst the 
lodge fetters, and soared at one glad, exultant bound, 
into the full liberty of a child of God. 

"Let them abuse me if they will!" he answered, his 
eyes kindling. " I shall go and bear my testimony. I 
know there are some in the lodge who will hear me." 

"Now, Mark," said I, "I'll tell you just the way 
this matter stands. Brownsville lodge has its disaffect- 
ed members who believe that Morgan has been foully 
murdered, and detest the crime; who feel just as I have 
felt many a night^when I have been to the meetings of 



AN EVENING IN THE LODGE. 209 

the lodge, glad from the very bottom of my heart to 
have seen the whole abominable thing blown sky high 
the next day. But the mischief is, there won't be a 
soul of them there to-night. They are ashamed of 
their connection with Masonry, but are afraid to come 
into open collision with it. And the consequence is 
all such ones will stay at home just as I was intending 
to do, and only the part that are bound to stand by the 
institution through thick and thin will be there to hear 
you." 

But none of these things moved Mark. He rose 
with quiet determination and proceeded to put on his 
coat and hat, saying as he did so 

" Anyhow I'm going. It is the only way I can free 
my mind and conscience. Silent withdrawal from the 
lodge is not enough. There must be a testifying; and 
whether they will hear or whether they will forbear is 
none of my concern." 

u Well, old boy," said I, as his finger was on the last 
button, " it's no use talking, I see, so I may as well 
make up my mind to go along with you. I'm no hand 
to make speeches myself, but I should be sorry to lose 
your's. And if I am not mistaken you'll need a friend 
to back you up and see that you have fair play before 
you get through. But I must tell Rachel that I am 
going." Accordingly I. stepped to the door of the 
buttery where she was busied in some household avoca- 
tion, and said 

u Rachel, you told me once that you could imagine 
circumstances that might make it my duty to go to the 
lodge. Now nothing will satisf} 7 " Mark's conscience . 
unless he goes and l testifies,' as he calls it. Shall I go 
with him or stay at home? What do you say?" 



210 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Rachel covered up the batter she had been setting to 
rise over night, and was silent for an instant. Then 
with a look which I told her afterwards was quite 
Deborah-like, she answered 

" Leander, I never wanted you to go to the lodge be- 
fore, but I say now, to you and Mark both, fear God 
rather than man. Go, and do your duty." 

And thus strengthened for the fight as only the 
strong, brave words of a true woman can strengthen a 
man, Mark and I went forth to find the brethren as- 
sembled read} 7 for business as soon as the usual pre- 
liminaries should be gone through with. Which pre- 
liminaries, for the enlightenment of the un-Masonic 
reader, I will state consisted in calling up the lodge 
by three distinct knocks of the Master's gavel, and a 
series of catechetical questions and answers between 
the latter and the two principal officers of the lodge in 
which might have been learned several instructive facts 
for instance, that u his obligation makes a Mason;" 
" that the Junior Warden stands in the south like the 
sun at high meridian, the beauty and glory of the 
day;" "that the Senior Warden stands in the west 
*like that same luminary at its close;" "and as the sun 
rises in the east to open and adorn the day, so presides 
the Worshipful Master in the east to open and adorn his 
lodge" allusions which Mark had said were clear proofs 
that Masonry was identical with ancient sun worship 28 
practiced among the natives of antiquity under the name 
of the mysteries of Baal among the Jews and Canaan- 
ites, of Osiris among the Egyptians, and Eleusis among 
the Greeks. [See note 19.] Then came a prayer to the 
unknown god of the lodge, the Great Architect of the 
Universe; at which some bowed their heads decorously, 

NOTE 28. "The identity of the Masonic Institution with the Ancient Mys- 
teries is obvious from the striking coincidences found to exist between them. 
The latter were a secret religious worship, and the depository of religion, science 
$ncl art." Plerson's Traditions, p. 18, 



AN EVENING IN THE LODGE. 211 

while others assumed all those curious varieties of atti- 
tudes congenial to the undevotional mind Mark him- 
self sitting- like a statue, his arms grimly folded, his 
eyes looking straight before him, and on his face such 
an expression of silent scorn and contempt as Elijalrs 
might have had when listening to the prayers of Baal's 
prophets. And the lodge was declared open for the 
regular dispatch of business. 

First in order came the reading of the minutes of 
the last meeting by the Secretary, which as it of course 
included Elder Cushing's. report, naturally brought up 
the business of the present hour what should be said 
and done in relation to the widespread excitement 
about Captain Morgan's' fate? 

Deacon Brown was the first one who took the floor, 
and his views, as stated to the lodge, amounted in sub- 
stance to this: "Let it alone and it would die down of 
itself. Our ancient institution had always been subject 
to the malice and hate of ill-wishers who did all they 
could to impose on the ignorant and bring the craft 
into disrepute. In his opinion the wisest policy for all 
Freemasons at this critical juncture was to preserve a 
discreet silence, remembering that a silent tongtie was al- 
ways and every where the chief jewel of faithful Masons." 

Another old and respected member of the lodge then 
rose: " He was sorry to differ, even slightly, with the 
Deacon, but would like to express his view of the case. 
Morgan had forfeited his life by attempting to expose 
the secrets of Masonry, but whether or not the penalty 
of his violated oath had actually been visited upon 
him, there was one unanswerable answer for those who 
would charge his cleath upon the lodge. Where was 
the proof?' 1 '' 



212 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Mark was on his feet in an instant, and a flattering 
hush of attention succeeded. For the lodge was in- 
clined to take some pride in Mark Stedman as a rising 
young man of talent and worth, and a high Mason he- 
sides; and as his change of opinion had not yet become 
known, young and old prepared to give respectful heed 
to whatever he might say. 

" I have proof, positive proof," he began, speaking 

with calm, deliberate utterance, " that Captain Morgan 

of Batavia was murdered somewhere about the 19th or 

20th of September, by being drowned in Niagara River. 

This proof 1 am prepared to furnish to any brother in 

the lodge who may not feel satisfied in his own mind 

that so great a crime has actually been committed. 

But for the majority of the members now present I 

believe that no such proof is necessary. Lodges and 

Chapters through this entire section of country, in 

conjunction with the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter 

of the State, have planned and plotted not as distinct 

bodies, but in groups lyingly termed committees, in 

reality conspirators the murder of Morgan and Miller. 

Miller has escaped, but the blood of Morgan is on the 

heads of- the entire Masonic fraternity; and he who 

seeks to cover up this unholy work instead of exposing 

and denouncing it, but lays up vengeance for himself 

against the great day of final doom."" 

Up to this point Mark had been listened to in per- 
fect silence, but it was a stupified silence. He had 
taken the lodge completely by surprise the more so as 
his calm, slow utterance had at first acted as a partial 
disguise to the scathing denunciation contained in his 
words. But as his meaning fairly broke on the startled 
assembly, looks of contempt and anger took the 



Atf EYElsTlKG IN" THE LODGE. 

of satisfied complacency, and murmurs which broke at 
last into audible hissing, filled the hall. Mark had 
roused the lodge dragon. My prediction made before 
starting had been fulfilled with disagreeable exactness. 
What a comfort the mere sight of Luke Thatcher's 
honest face would have been in that sea of scornful, 
contemptuous looks! 

Elder Gushing and one or two other members tried 
to quiet the disturbance, and so far succeeded that 
when Mark again rose to speak in response to a 
call half in earnest, half derision, for his proofs of 
Morgan's murder, there -was quite a profound si- 
lence. 

"If I should bring forward my whole array of evi- 
dence, beginning wich the first intimations that I re- 
ceived of the conspiracy against the life of Morgan 
last August, and the numerous conversations held with 
Masons on the subject who both acknowledged and 
justified his murder, I should trespass on the time of 
the lodge. My proof is nearer home. Sheriff Fox " 
and Mark leaned forward with a look that was sword- 
like in its keenness " you, a minister of the law whose 
business it is to punish the guilty and shield the inno- 
cent, you have helped forward this work of blood. 
Deacon Brown, you have done the same. And must it 
be said that against you, Elder Gushing, I have the 
same damning charge- to bring? God knows that as 
my pastor I have loved and revered you; that I have 
been sincerely grateful for all your many kindnesses to 
me, but though every word 1 speak is like an arrow in 
my heart, God's truth must be uttered without respect 
of persons. On the night of the 14th of September 
there was held in Lewiston an installation of the Royal 



214 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Arch Chapter. That meeting decided Morgan's fate. 
You were present and consenting to his death." 

There was something in Mark's face and voice that 
seemed for an instant to awe the lodge. Even Darius 
Fox was content with silently looking his rage and de- 
fiance, while Deacon Brown, a kindly, well-meaning- 
old man till his fanatical devotion to Masonry made 
him a murderer, fairly cowered in his seat. Elder 
Gushing flushed almost purple, but he rose to reply. 

tk Some allowance must be made for the rashness and 
presumption of youth. Brother Stedman in thus 
venturing to accuse his elders and superiors in the 
lodge shows his ignorance of the very first principle of 
Masonic law: unquestioning obedience and the swift 
execution of its penalties when violated. Masonry has 
its system of laws and -the right to punish their in- 
fringement as much as the State or the Church. And 
what crime more detestable than treason? To what 
government under heaven can you point, however 
humane or enlightened, which does not punish it with 
death? Morgan was a traitor to his Masonic vows, 
and if he has died the death of a traitor, if his throat 
has been cut from ear to ear, his tongue torn out by 
the roots and his body buried beneath the rough sands 
of the sea where the tide ebbs and flows twice in 
twenty-four hours, he could not complain of not having 
justice done him." 

" Amen. Amen. So mote it be;' 1 was the response 
all through the room to the Elder's speech. Mark took 
in the scene with eyes in which a deeper fire was slowly 
kindling, and when he once more rose to speak his 
voice was low and solemn as with a prophetic burden 
of approaching doom. 



A STIGHT IN THE LODGE. 215 

* Because ye have said, we have made a covenant 
with death and with hell sire we at agreement; when 
the overflowing scourge shall pass through it shall not 
come nigh unto us, for we have made lies our refuge 
and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. Therefore 
thus saith the Lord: Your covenant with death shall 
be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not 
stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through 
then ye shall be trodden down by it.' From this un- 
holy institution whose authority is based on deception 
and terror, whose morality is a lie, whose laws are mur- 
derous, whose oaths are high-handed blasphemy, I with- 
draw forever. God shall yet judge her, and if there be 
among you, as I would fain believe, some who do abhor 
and detest this great crime which has been committed. 
I call upon all such to stand up and unite their testi- 
mony with mine against it, that they be not partakers 
in her doom. 1 " 

I had sat in silence fairly appalled at Mark's daring 
till now, but true courage is always contageous, and 
amid the storm of hissings, hootings, cries of " traitor/' 
and threats to send him after Morgan, which inter- 
rupted his speech, with one thought of Rachel I rose 
and stood beside him. But no one else stirred in the 
lodge. It was an awful moment. Neighbors, friends, 
with whom we had held pleasant social intercourse all 
our lives, glaring upon us with looks of scorn and hate, 
abusive epithets hurled at us from lips that heretofore 
had never anything but kindly greetings! At this mo- 
ment I can shut my eyes and see it all, then open them 
shuddering as if from a dream of hell. But Mark 
stood unmoved, brave as a lion ; and when a slight lull in 
the clamor allowed his words to be heard he again spoke: 



HOLDER WI'EH CORDS. 

" Threaten us if you will; carry out those threats if 
you dare ; but remember that there may be consequences 
you will not care to face. I have spoken freely against 
the principles of this institution. I believe it to be 
anti-Christian and a dangerous foe to our republican 
government. For holding and expressing those opin- 
ions you murdered Morgan; but I shall not be deterred 
by his fate from holding and expressing them too. 
Freedom of opinion, the liberty of the press and the 
right of free speech I will never surrender to the 
bidding of any earthly power. They are rights given 
to me of God, purchased by the blood of my fathers; 
I inhaled them with my first breath I will only lose 
them with my last. Remove my objections to Masonry 
if you can, when these very threats you utter against 
me to-night prove their truth as no mere assertion of 
mine can possibly do. But till then, as I said before, I 
withdraw from all connection with the institution, and 
disavow every obligation taken in blindness and terror. 
I bow no longer at an altar defiled with human blood; 
I own no High Priest save him who has passed into the 
heavens; and no Worshipful Master but Jesus Christ 
my -Lord." 

Mark had said his say; the lodge had not. For two 
or three hours the stream of invective and abuse con- 
tinued to flow, and then the meeting broke up after 
certainly one of the stormiest and most exciting sessions 
Brownsville lodse had ever known. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

FREEMASONRY'S MASK REMOVED. SILENT ANTI-MASONS. 

THE CIRCUIT PREACHER. RACHEL FINDS 

u PEACE. '' HE GIVETH HIS 

BELOVED SLEEP. 

N spite of the lateness of the hour Rachel 
was sitting up waiting for us, and as 
soon as she heard our footsteps, flew to 
open the door and light us in, the candle 
which she carried revealing mingled 
anxiety and relief in her countenance. 
Mark noticed it. 

" We have been in a den of lions, Rachel."' 
he said, " but we have come back safe. God 
has shut their mouths; we have received no harm." 

" Shut their mouths for the present," said T, rather 
skeptically; " but I tell you, Mark, if you keep on the 
rig you are running now there is no saying what the 
consequences may be. The fact is public opinion in 
this matter of Morgan is beginning to press so hard on 
the lodge that it is just like a wounded wild bull 
ready to plunge its horns into everybody rash enough 
to stand in its way. k What they have done to one man 
they will do to another, if they dare. That's all the 
question there is about it. ' 




HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

" I don't think my life is in any present peril, 1 ' an- 
swered Mark; i4 nor do I intend to rashly endanger it. 
Half the battle is in taking a bold stand at the outset. 
They can expel me, ' derange my worldly interests,' 
4 point me out as an unworthy vagabond, and transfer 
my character after me wherever I go.' This I expect. 
But I have counted the cost. You see it is an easy 
thing for me to do who have only myself to count it 
with. Bat it is different with you, Leander. You, who 
stood up with me like a rock to-night against all the 
fury and abuse of the lodge, must count it over with 
another dearer than yourself. What do you say, 
Rachel?" 

"That the cost shall never be made more through 
any selfish shrinking on ni)' part," answered Rachel, 
with glowing cheek and sparkling eye. u Do you 
think that I will not help Leander bear all the perse- 
cution and reproach that may come upon him loss of 
property, anything if I can only have my husband 
back again, none of these terrible lodge secrets be- 
tween us? 0, Mark!" and Rachel's voice choked and 
her eyes overflowed. 

I wonder how many Mason's wives have thought the 
same in the solitude of their lonely vigils, bitter of 
soul against the institution that robs them of the true 
wife's most precious treasure the entire confidence of 
her husband! 

To my grandfather it seemed as if the murder of 
Morgan, revealing as by a lightning flash the hellish 
spirit of the institution, to which, like mailf another 
honest Mason he had rendered a Blind fealty only next 
to that he gave his God, was like a blow at his own 
vitals. He lost much of his old loquacity and choor- 



HOW GRANDFATHER BECAME A MASON. 

fulness, and as the cold weather set in he grew feebler, 
but he said little only once when he asked my for- 
giveness my dear, blessed old grandfather for having 
persuaded me into the lodge. 

" I never thought I was advising you for your harm, 
Leander, 11 he said, pathetically; "but you see I became 
a Mason when I was a young man, just before I sailed 
on my first long voyage. And the way it happened, 
Dr. Damon, stopped at our house one day when mother 
was fixing me off. He was a great man in our part 
Dr. Damon was. So mother bustled round and set out 
the decanter and sugar and hot water; and he stirred 
and sipped while she was telling how bad she felt to 
have me go off to the ends of the earth on a three 
years' voyage. I remember just how the Doctor looked. 
He was a handsome old gentleman with silver knee 
buckles and a great flowing wig, and just as stately and 
polite in his way of speaking, especially to women, as 
if he had been brought up at Court. ' Madam,' said he, 
1 your son ought to become a Freemason. I may .say 
that I have heard of numerous well attested cases 
where inability to give the Masonic sign has cost a man 
his life. But I would not wish to be understood as re- 
ferring entirely to its advantages in times of peril. 
Admirably as you have trained your son he needs the 
moral safeguard which joining such an institution will 
throw about him, and I trust, my dear Madam, that 
you will use all your maternal influence to induce him 
to take this step before he sails. 1 Well, mother pool- 
dear soul believed what Dr. Damon said. Why 
shouldn't she? And so after he had gone she pon- 
dered it over for a while, and then she said to me, 4 Well, 
David, my son, perhaps you had better do as the Doctor 



220 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

says. It is because sailors are subject to such dreadful 
temptations that I worry about you so. There is noth- 
ing in the world that I want so much as to see you a 
Christian, for then no matter what happened to you, 
if you were shipwrecked or taken by pirates, I should 
know you were all right for the other world. Next to 
that I want to see you possessed of principles so strong 
that they will resist all temptation. A young man can 
have these and not be a Christian, but he can't have 
them and be far from the kingdom. So if becoming a 
Mason will help you to be more steady and moral and 
upright, why I want you to join them.' That was 
enough for me. I thought a good deal of my mother. 
Well, when I came to join, it was all as different as 
could be from what I expected. The oaths and penal- 
ties shocked* me, but the charges and lectures all had 
such a good moral and religious sound to them that 
they helped to quiet my mind a good deal, and I never 
let mother know that I wasn't perfectly satisfied with 
it. When I came back from my first voyage she was 
dead. I only stayed at home a few weeks and then I 
was off again. It was on my second voyage that I ex- 
perienced religion you've heard me tell about it, 
Leander. It was one awful night when a typhoon had 
struck our ship, and every man of us seemed booked 
for destruction. I kept thinking of mother, and how 
unfit I was to join her in the other world. I could see 
her just as she used to look going about her work and 
singing, * When I survey the wondrous cross.' Why 
in all that awful noise of wind and water, and the 
crash of falling masts and parting timbers, I could 
seem to hear her voice, and it was just like an angel's 
telling me to repent of my sins and flee to Christ for 



221 

refuge. Masonry didn't help me much then. It was 
Christ alone that I wanted. Well, of course between 
my .voyages there wasn't much time to attend the 
lodge, and when I give up the sea and settled down to 
a landsman's life I had got out of the way of going at 
all But I reverenced the institution. I thought it 
must be good and according to the Bible, or else min- 
isters and deacons wouldn't uphold and support it. My 
objections to the ceremonies and obligations T reasoned 
away you know how, Leander till I really saw noth- 
ing in them inconsistent with my Christian profession. 
I thought it was a divine institution that could neither 
do nor teach anything wrong, till the murder of Mor- 
gan opened my eyes. Mark Stedman told me no news. 
I was already convinced in my own mind that Morgan 
had been killed, but I fought against the conviction; I 
wasn't willing to acknowledge it till Deacon Brown, in 
private conversation with me, justified his murder 
only the day before Mark came home. Then I knew 
that the whole system was of him who was a murderer 
from the beginning. God deliver me from the stain of 
blood-guiltiness in this matter." 

My grandfather leaned back exhausted in his chair, 
and I realized with sudden pain how pale and feeble he 
had grown. 

Now one word with that large and respectable class 
of readers who " can't believe that Masonry is such a 
very bad thing after all when so many good men belong 
to it." It is true there are good men in the Masonic 
order. Remembering my grandfather's spotless life, 
his spirit of universal kindliness to all created things, 
his humble conscientious performance of every known 
duty, God forbid that I should deny it. But if we 



222 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

once admit the sophism that a system must be good 
because good men support it, where will it land us? 
Shall I tell you where, dear, intelligent Christian read- 
er? Into the days when so many good people believed 
religiously in hanging witches, and if pressed hard for 
a reason for the faith that was in them could have given 
chapter and verse in support of their sanguinary creed 
with refreshing promptitude; into the days when good 
Christian judges believed that the prison, the scourge 
and the pillory were means of grace for enlightening 
the blind consciences of heretic Quakers; into the days 
when so many -ood people, North and South, upheld 
the system of human slavery, and wished reformers 
would stop all this disagreeable agitaiion, all this un- 
pleasant talk about u coining the heart's blood of the 
oppressed it was so much better to let disagreeable 
subjects alone!" my Christian brother, my Chris- 
tian sister, shame not the thinking mind and noble 
heart. God has given you by any such fallacious reason- 
ing! Accept like honest men and women this one 
square issue. Either Masonry is right or it is wrong. 
Either it is a false religion or the true one a worship 
of God or a worship of devils. Is indifference to it 
compatible with loyalty to Christ? Can you be truly 
his yet care not whether he reigns over the world or 
anti-Christ? There are good men in the lodge poor, 
hoodwinked, cable-towed victims Sampson-like shorn 
of their strength, and made to grind in the prison- 
house of a secret, oath-bound organization. But these 
good men would come out of it by scores and by 
hundreds, walking open-eyed and unfettered in the full 
strength of their Christian manhood, if you bore your 
faithful testimony against it; if you refuse to fellow- 



SILENT ANTIMASONS. 223 

ship Masonry in your churches or tolerate Masonic 
pastors in your pulpits. 

Which reminds me that I have another word to say 
to a certain class of Christian ministers " who never 
were Masons, and don't believe in secret societies." 

" My dear sir, 1 am glad to know that you have such 
decided views of the evils of secretism. Of course you 
sometimes preach on this subject from the pulpit?" 

u 0, no. In fact it wouldn't do. I have two or three 
Masons in my church and quite a sprinkling of Odd- 
fellows and other secret society men, and I should only 
stir up a rumpus and perhaps split the church. Be- 
sides I am set to preach the gospel, not Masonry or 
Anti-masonry." 

u But Christ preached against the corrupt doctrines 
of the Scribes and Pharisees. St. Paul preached against 
idolatry, Luther against the sale of indulgences. Didn't 
Christ and Paul and Luther preach the gospel ? And 
you yourself, if I am not greatly mistaken, have been 
known to allude more than once in your pulpit dis- 
courses to the sin of intemperance." 

" Ah, well, that is a safe subject. It can't stir np 
strife nor hurt my influence as a public discussion ofc- 
Masonry would be sure to do. A pastor must be care- 
ful not to give unnecessary offence, and so hurt the 
cause of Christ. I trust you understand me." 

" My dear sir, I understand you perfectly. A certain 
old Hebrew prophet and reformer who was never afraid 
of hurting his influence by denouncing popular sins, 
has welF described what the cowardly, time-serving 
pastor, too fearful of his bread and butter interests to 
wage any warfare against those same unpopular sins does 
not do, l Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither 



224 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in 
the battle in the day of the Lord.' Shame on such 
hireling shepherds fc who daub the walls of Zion with 
untempered mortar!' It may be more tolerable in the 
day of Judgment for men like Elder Gushing, who, 
blinded by their fanatical zeal for the lodge, committed 
the sin of Cain, than for you who acknowledge Masonry 
to be an evil yet will not lift up your voice when you 
see the sword coming." 

Mark Stedman, since his renunciation of the lodge, 
had gone contentedly back to the most common 
drudgery of the farm, but that strange peace and joy 
which he had so vainly sought in the puerile traditions 
of men overflowed his soul like a river when all the 
windows of heaven are opened, and bank and dyke are 
powerless to keep in the swelling waters. And it was 
no surprise to us when a proposal came to him to 
preach. Mark after thinking and praying over it for 
one whole day as he chopped the wood and fed the cattle, 
chose his life work to be a poor circuit preacher not 
always knowing where his daily bread should come 
from; and only sure of two things: poverty and the 
qpntempt of the world, on all whose honors and pre- 
ferments he was now turning his back. 

But poor Rachel seemed to profit but little from the 
spiritual help Mark was so eager to proffer her. There 
sometimes are souls that in their vain struggles after 
spiritual light and liberty are like birds that fly into a 
room and beat blindly against the windows when all 
the while the door stands open. The kindest endeavors 
to help them find their way out only adds to their be- 
wilderment. 

I have already mentioned that a peculiar attachment 



GRANDFATHER AND RACHEL. 225 

existed between my grandfather and Rachel. One day 
she was sitting by his side. His great print Bible lay 
open on his knee, but he was not reading. With 
spectacles pushed back he was gazing fondly on. the 
tiny two-month's-old who represented his name and 
line in the fourth generation, but whose advent I have 
hitherto neglected to chronicle. 

" I don't know, Rachel, as you ought to have given 
him my name," he said, finally. u David is so old- 
fashioned. You might have found one prettier.'' 

44 1 don't care for that," answered Rachel, promptly. 
" I want my boy to bear the name of a good man and 
grow up like him. And I always fancied David. There 
is something so strong and brave in the sound. Who 
knows what Goliath my boy may have to fight when 
he grows up." 

u That is true," said my grandfather, gently. 

41 And I want to train him right," continued Rachel., 
41 1 am afraid I shall make mistakes. If I was only a 
Christian I should know how." 

u But, Rachel, why ain't you one?" asked my grand- 
father. 44 There is Mark, now; I never saw anything 
like the boy. It almost seems as if he had seen the 
Lord face to face just to hear him get up and pray." 

" Mark is so different from me. He could always 
understand and enjoy things in books that I never 
could. And it is just so in religion. When he talks 
to me I feel as though he was standing on a ladder of 
sunbeams and calling to me to come up. I see no 
earthly way of getting to the top. Now Leander and 
I would understand each other better I think, but there 
is another thing. When Leander went to the lodge 
that seemed to shut us off from talking about religion 



226 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

to each other. It seemed as if he was seeking salvation 
one way and I another. So the wall kept growing 
higher. I've seen the same thing in other women. 
They go to the prayer-meeting and their husbands go 
to the lodge. How can they sit down together and 
talk of their spiritual interests? But I don't want to 
blame Leander; he never meant to make it any harder 
for me. And if I had been the right sort of woman I 
never should have let such a little thing hinder me. 
But it must be I am not one of the elect. If I was I 
should have been a Christian before this." 

And poor Rachel, who felt that Mark's call to the 
ministry was only another proof that the same in- 
scrutable will, which had made him a chosen vessel of 
grace, had only doomed her to"be an heir of destruction, 
sighed as if the end of the matter was reached. 

u Rachel," answered my grandfather, seriously, " I 
am a poor, unprofitable servant, not fit to teach the 
way of life to anybody; but my Bible tells me that the 
blood of. Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin, and 1 be- 
lieve what it says. Now the way I feel about Mark is 
that the Lord is separating him to a special work, and 
that is why he is filling him so full of grace beforehand. 
He'll need it all before he gets through. But the free 
gift is for you and me just as much as for Mark. God 
makes his sun and rain to come down as freely on a 
blade of grass as on the tallest oak. And so I take this 
giftthis unspeakable gift, just as I take my daily 
bread, without asking any questions whether Pm elect- 
ed or not. I do as David did. I take the cup of salva- 
tion and call on the name of the Lord. it's just 
wonderful, this free gift to poor sinners like you and 
me, Rachel!'" 



HE GIVETH HIS BELOVED SLEEP. 227 

Rachel had listened with a new light dawning in her 
eyes which finally spread all over her face like the sun 
new risen 

u I'll try your way," she said, slowly. " Somehow it 
seems common sense. I can understand it."- 

And then she put on her shawl and bonnet, kissed 
my grandfather and tripped 'home. But that night she 
sang snatches of hymns over her baby's cradle; she 
sang when she was getting tea and moulding biscuit; 
and the light did not leave her face. It never has left 
it, it never will; for it was the peace which passeth all 
understanding. 

In the hours of the early morning between two and 
three there came a knock at our door. It was Joe. 

" Come over, quick, Leander," he said, " Grandfather 
is dying /" 

Quickly as Rachel and I obeyed the summons Joe's 
words were all too true. The shadowing presence of 
the dark angel had gone before us and filled all the 
hushed silent room as we entered it. 

He lay breathing heavily, but smiled on us both, 
though it was on Rachel that his eyes slowly filming 
over with the mist of death, rested with the tenderest, 
longest gaze. 

His lips moved as she knelt weeping by the bedside, 
and we just caught the low accents Huldah. It was 
the name borne by the beloved wife of his youth, and 
in that hour of near reunion, with the shores of time 
fading away, and all the eternal realities of the unseen 
world ready to burst on his vision, he blended the sight 
of one with the memory of the other. 

Joe had gone for the doctor. But his face when he 
inspired us with no hope. He asked a few ques- 



228 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

tions, then took a seat in silence as powerless as any of 
us in the dread presence of. death. 

The sun was rising when my grandfather passed 
away. He had been lying very quiet. Then all at 
once a strange rapt look came into his face. Who did 
he see, in that last solemn moment when the veil was 
rending which hid all that wonder of gold and jasper 
and emerald, of white-robed multitudes and harping 
choirs from his view? 

' Who shall separate us? Who shall separate us?" 
he whispered. And then a few deep breaths, and my 
grandfather wzs where in truth nothing should or 
could separate him from his Lord and Savior. No lodge 
with its man-miade traditions, its false worship, its anti- 
Christian rites, to come between and make his love wax 
cold. As a bird from the snare of the fowler he had 

escaped into the free, immortal air of heaven. ' 
******* 

"Leander," said Mark, as we stood looking sadly 
down on the dear, familiar face settled to its last long 
sleep, " I can't help feeling glad that he is now out of 
the reach of slander and persecution. The lodge would 
no more have spared his gray hairs, after he had re- 
nounced it than it will spare us. But we are young 
and strong for the conflict, while he was old and feeble, 
and it would have broken his heart." 

I could not speak for tears, but I knew that Mark 
was right. My grandfather had been taken from the 
warfare that was even then beginning; a slow, insidi- 
ous, wearing warfare that would only end when we 
laid our armor down forever. 




CHAPTER XXV. 

MOVING. THE MASONIC u OBLIGATION " REMOVED. THE 
WARFARE BEGINS. 

HOW we missed him! how hard it was: 
to keep on missing him every day! but, 
over our loss, as over every other void 
that death makes, flowed the cold, re- 
morseless tide of plans and purposes for 
the morrow. Miss Loker had received a 
pressing call from a lately widowed brother 
to come and keep his house for him; and my 
mother, in her invalid state of health, was only 
too glad to resign all her household cares into Rachel's 
hands, while I took my grandfather's place as head of 
the family. So Rachel and I prepared to move from 
the little home he had built and furnished for us with 
such loving care scarcely more than a year before, 
thinking, doubtless, as we ourselves believed and hoped, 
that with his hale, hearty frame, a long, green old age 
might yet lay before him. 

" He took such pleasure in planning it for us," said 
Rachel, tearfully. " Even that end window he had put 
in just because I happened to say that I always wanted 
a kitchen to have the morning sun. How I wish Joe 
might live here some day." 



230 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

"Joe isn't one of the stay-at-home sort. By the 
time he is twenty-one he'll be striking out for himself 
in Kentucky or Illinois." 

" Then Mark, perhaps, if he should ever get married 
and I suppose he will some time." 

But any thought of marriage seemed at present far 
from Mark's head, which I privately considered was a 
lucky thing, for while I cherished the most profound 
respect for his talents and learning, I had an equally 
small regard for Mark's abilities in any such practical 
line of effort as the supporting of a family. And I 
only smiled at Rachel's last suggestion. 

So in that immutable order of things which has ever 
been and ever will be while the human generations 
come' and go, new hopes blossomed where the old had 
perished, and one morning when the snow lay thick 
and white over my grandfather's grave I took his place 
and conducted with faltering voice the family worship, 

Rachel had told me the whole of that last conversa- 
tion with my grandfather, keeping nothing back. The 
gentle Quakeress had uttered no false warning. Un- 
wittingly I had put a stumbling block in the way of 
Rachel's salvation. Instead of joining her in her 
search after Him who is not far from any one of us I 
had tried to satisfy my conscience with the Christless 
prayers and rites of the lodge. But now we were in 
deed and in truth one fellow pilgrims together through 
a troublous world, and heirs of the same blessed hope : 
a far more eternal and exceeding weight of glory when 
we both should pass to an immortal reunion beyond 
the veil. 

But I was not yet entirely free from the lodge fetters. 
Like Mr. Jedediah Mills, I considered that " an oath 



THE MASONIC "OBLIGATION"" REMOVED. 231 

was an oath" under all circumstances, and any viola- 
tion thereof a crime " to be punished by the judges." 
It was Rachel, who, with her clearer understanding of 
Scripture truth, gave the blow that finally knocked 
apart those shackling obligations too fully and com- 
pletely for any earthly power ever to clench again. 

u Leander," she said suddenly to me one day, "I 
thought at first it was a dreadful thing for Captain 
Morgan to break his oath. But I have begun to think 
differently. Now listen while I read this verse in 
Leviticus, fifth chapter, fourth verse: 4 If a soul swear, 
pronouncing with his lips to do evil or to do good, 
whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an 
oath, and it be hid from him, when he knoweth of it, 
then he shall be guilty in one of these. Then it goes 
on to tell how he must bring a trespass offering for 
his sin. Now if there was any provision made under 
the old dispensation for rash and foolish oaths there 
must be under the new. Masons don't know what 
they are swearing to when they take these obligations, 
or in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred they 
wouldn't take them at all. It is hid from them." 

44 But, Rachel," I said, doubtfully. 4i are you sure that 
is what the verse means ?" 

44 Well, if you don't believe me, come and read Bag- 
ster's explanation of it: 4 This relates to rash oaths 
or vows which a man was afterwards unable, or which 
it would have been sinful to perform.' I hope you don't 
doubt Bagster. There now," continued Rachel, tri- 
umphantly; 44 what can be clearer? Shall a Christian 
keep a wicked oath that wouldn't have been binding 
even on a Jew?" 

1 did not reply at once, for I was reading the verses 



232 HOLDEN" WITH CORDS. 

that followed. How graciously that old Levitical law 
stooped to the necessities of the poorest. u He shall 
bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a lamb or a 
kid of the goats * * * or if he be not able to bring a 
lamb then he shall bring for his trespass which he hath 
committed two turtle doves or two young pigeons * * * 
but if he be not able to bring two turtle doves or two 
young pigeons, then he that hath sinned shall bring 
for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine 
flour." Should the blood of God's eternal Son be of 
less efficacy to purge my conscience from the guilt of 
these rash, blasphemous Masonic vows? To this day I 
feel the thrill of recovered freedom that tingled through 
every vein when I read that old Jewish law, and real- 
ized that once more I was a man, no longer a cower- 
ing, shivering, faltering slave, bound with the self- 
forged manacles of a lodge oath. 

Just then Mark Stedman came in. There are some 
natures that the first bugle note of any great moral 
conflict seem to rouse instantly to action. Like the 
war horse of Scripture, pawing in the valleys and re- 
joicing in his strength, they smell the battle afar off 
and say, ha! ha! to the sound of the trumpet. And 
Mark Stedman belonged to this class of minds, pre- 
destinated by their very constitution to fill the ranks 
of the world's martyr's and reformers. 

" I have been subprenaed to appear at the next 
sitting of the county court to tell what I know about 
the murder of Morgan," he said, as he stood warming 
his hands at the fire. "I shall start early to-mor- 
row morning. It really looks now as if the courts 
were going to take up the matter vigorously; and 
if so they can't help finding bills of indictment 



THE WARFARE BEGINS. 233 

against some of the leading actors in this outrageous 
business." 

" But what is the use of indicting if they don't con- 
vict? I wouldn't snap my finger for any chance of 
conviction with a Masonic jury to sit on the case. 
And what else can you expect but a packed jury when 
the sheriff who summons it is a Mason? Depend upon 
it the Masonic institution will shield Morgan's mur- 
derers to the uttermost. I am not enough of a prophet 
to say what the final outcome will be, but I am sure 
that law will be evaded and justice hampered in every 
conceivable way to clear the guilty parties." 

" I know that," answered Mark, " but I believe in 
the final triumph of right." 

u So do 1 when there comes that grand general 
settling up in the other world," I returned. " By the 
way I saw a newspaper paragraph the other day which 
convinced me that the father of lies was busy at his 
usual occupation. It reported that Captain Morgan 
had been seen by a lately returned sailor in the streets 
of Smyrna, disguised as a Turk." 

u As though anybody would be fool enough to believe 
such a silly falsehood I" 1 said Mark, indignantly. 

" There'll be plenty to believe it. Falsehood is the 
chief engine of the lodge. But here comes Joe with a 
letter for you, Mark.'" 

Mark tore open the epistle, gave a brief glance at 
Hie contents and then handed it to me with a smile on 
his grave, resolute young face. 

" You see the fight has begun, Leander." 

It was a wretched scrawl for the writer had evi- 
dently tried to disguise his hand threatening Mark in 
scurrilous and abusive terms and ending thus: " I know 



234 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

four Royal Arch Masons who stand ready to despatch 
you as a traitor against the most heaventy and benefi- 
cent institution on earth. ONE OF THE FOUR." 

" Quite an interesting communication, isn't it?" said 
Mark, coolly; " but not the first I have received of like 
nature." 

"Mark, you must go armed. You ought to carry 
pistols." 

"No, Leander. I have thought it over, but the 
servant of the Lord must not strive. Shall 1 rely on 
an arm of flesh when Jehovah himself has promised to 
be my shield? Besides,jnen who will take the time 
and pains to write anonymous threats are usually too 
cowardly to dare do anything more. Nothing troubles 
me about these letters but the postage on them. It is 
rather too bad to have to pay for the privilege of re- 
ceiving personal abuse." 

" Mark,'" said I, finally, u You are not going to start 
on this journey, short as it is, alone. I shall tell Rachel 
that I really want to hear the proceedings of the court, 
which is the truth. And having none of your con- 
scientious scruples about the use of carnal weapons, I 
mean to go armed to the teeth. If anybody meddles 
with us it won't be for their health." 

Mark demurred, but my mind was made up. I took 
Joe into confidence, however, for since our grand- 
father's death there had been a wonderful change in 
the lad. The maturity and steadiness of manhood was 
fast replacing his boyish thoughtlessness and mischief, 
and I knew I could trust him not only to keep the alarm 
I felt from Rachel, but to manage matters during my 
brief absence. So that everything was in readiness for 
my early departure with Mark the next morning-, when 



THE WABFARE BEGINS . f 235 

just as the candle was beginning to burn low in the 
socket, and the great kitchen clock stood on the stroke 
of nine, there was a rap at the door. As I opened it, 
to my inexpressible surprise the light fell full on the 
familiar features of Sam Toller. 

u Why, Sam!" I exclaimed. u Come right in. How 
do you happen to be in Brownsville?" 

u Wall, I'm on kinder pressin' business," said Sam, as 
with weary, foot-sore tread he followed me into the 
kitchen. " IVe walked a'most from Rochester to let ye 
know about it. The Masons have laid a plan to kidnap 
Mark Stedman on his way to court so as to stop his 
giving testimony. 1 ' 

u How did you find out about it, Sam?" I asked, after 
a moment's silence. 

4> Wall, ye see the way of it was I overheard acci- 
dentally enough of their talk to make me suspicion 
that they were up to some mischief. So I jest steps up 
to 'em and gives 'em the sign, and sez I, l I'm yer man, 
ready to do anything ye set me to; ready to shed my 
last drop of blood in defence of the glorious institu- 
tion of Masonry!' And after I had made 'em think by 
talking in that way awhile they could make a tool of 
me easy, I found out what they were up to. Their 
plans are all cut and dried. There's a lonesome part of 
the road, jest the other side of Savin's Bend where 
he'll have to walk a piece if he goes by stage, and they 
calkerlate to waylay him there. They'll all have masks 
on, so it can never be known who they be. Wall, I 
spoke up and sez, ' Gentlemen, I can help ye in this ere 
business. I know Mark Sfcedman and he knows me; 
and I can make him play into yer hands as easy as a 
woodchuck walks into a trap.' So they kinder debated 



HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

over it awhile, and then the leader sez to me, ' The 

d d villain's mouth has got to be stopped. We'll 

pay you fair for the job if you undertake it!' So we 
struck a bargain, and then the whole party of us went 
to the tavern to get a drink, and while they were treat- 
ing each other, I contrived it to slip oil by saying I had 
got to see to the horses. So here I be. Now what's to 
be done about it." 

" Sam, you're a good fellow, worth your weight in 
gold," said I, shaking his hand with a fervor of grati- 
tude, as 1 realized how narrow had been Mark's escape. 
"But I don't want Rachel to know anything about 
this at present And Mark need not be told of it till 
morning. Then we can take counsel together. Do 
you think any of the Brownsville lodge are in the plot?" 

;t I don't want to name names when I ain't sartin," 
answered Sam, cautiously. u Them that's got the job 
on hand don't belong in Brownsville. But 1 tell ye, 
Leander, Masonry is as full of long arms as that devil 
fish Tim Kendall was telling about seeing when he was 
off on his cruise. They keep swaying about ready to 
clutch ye, and once get a hold they never let go. The 
only way to do when they grapple a man is to chop off 
its arms and leave a part of the critter sticking to the 
flesh." 

Rachel just then entered with that smile on her face 
which only mothers wear when they come from bend- 
ing over the rosy leep of their first born. Our little 
David was growing finely, a bright, healthy babe, and 
we were as proud of all his little budding infantile ac- 
complishments as most young parents who see in their 
eldest darling something they will never see in any 
child later born, for it is the first blossoming of their 



THE WARFARE BEGIKS. 237 

young hopes as Scripture puts it, u the beginning of 
strength." 

She started at seeing Sam quietly domiciled in his 
favorite corner, but it had been a family prophecy that 
u we should see Sam Toller back some day when we 
least expected it, ' and after a few surprised inquiries 
she hastened to set out a substantial supper of cold 
meat, brown bread and cheese; nor did she hesitate to 
cut a generous triangle of mince* pie, to all of which 
Sam dH justice in a way that would have appalled the 
dyspeptic generation of the present day. 

But Sain seemed to miss something. His eye kept 
wandering to the empty arm-chair. There it stood in 
its old corner, just as my grandfather left it the night 
the death angel summoned him. Even his Bible lay 
on the stand with his spectacles beside, for Rachel, with 
that strange clinging of soul to the poor mute things 
its beloved will never again need, would not have them 
put away. Then he said hesitatingly 

" The Captain he's well I hope. 1 ' 

But when we told him with voices broken by tears 
that the kindly smile had vanished forever, and the 
eyes that never glanced sternly save at some story of 
wrong and oppression would beam on us no more that 
the Captain had reached a port beyond storm and ship- 
wreck even the Eternal City of our God, with its 
pearly gates, its golden streets, its never ceasing fruit- 
ageSain Toller lifted up his voice and wept aloud. 




CHAPTER XXVI 

THE FALL OF 1826. OUR JOURNEY. FREEMASONRY VS. 
JUSTICE. 

WILL now drop the thread of my nar- 
rative to give a brief statement of the 
general situation a few months after the 
murder of Morgan, lest some reader find- 
ing history so silent on the events of 
those thrilling times should accuse me of a 
tendency to romance. Hitherto Masonry 
had held her own unchallenged by church or 
state, bat now she was undergoing a meta- 
morphosis similar to that of the fair maiden in the 
witch story who suddenly turned into a loathsome, 
wriggling serpent. But her power was nowise abated. 
Though she could no longer captivate good men by her 
harlot beauty she could intimidate and appall. Under 
her basilisk eye the press quailed and was silent, or 
sounded false notes to baffle public inquiry, and even 
the majestic Muse of History succumbed to the same 
withering spell, and expunged alike from the ponder- 
ous tome of the student and the text-book of the 
school-boy all record of those exciting years with their 
far-reaching political effects, their strange thwarting 
of justice, their vivid lights and shadows of personal 



THE FALL OF 1826. 239 

experience; for it is a fact that many a Mason who 
chose to obey the voice of conscience rather than the 
mandates of the lodge, trembled under a fear of its 
secret vengeance, and rumor told of more than one 
who dared not stir out at nightfall for dread of the 
assassin's knife at his throat. 

For as these things were talked over in store and 
tavern, and round the kitchen fire, and the conviction 
gathered force that Morgan had met his deuth at the 
hands of Masonic executioners, ugly tales began to 
start up. Men remembered Smith, of Vermont, who 
undertook to republish Jachinand Boazin this country 
and was believed to have shared the fate of its original 
author, as well as Murdock of Rensselaerville, New 
York, who likewise rendered himself obnoxious to the 
lodge by an attempt to betray the secrets and was 
found mysteriously murdered soon after. It was there- 
fore no wonder that my fears had been seriously excit- 
ed for Mark's safety before they were so disagreeably 
confirmed by Sam Toller's tidings of the plot against 
him ; no wonder that I passed a sleepless night thinking 
of his peril, and vainly trying to answer Sam's inquiry: 
" What is to be done about it?" But a strong, brave 
soul that has cast out of its calculations every factor 
of self-interest, fully resolved to follow truth wherever 
she may lead, even to martyrdom if so be, has a won- 
derfully direct way of settling all such difficulties. 

"My duty is plain, Leander," was Mark's answer, 
when I communicated to him his danger the next 
morning. " I must tell what I know, but I shall cer- 
tainly give good heed to Sam's warning. I shall take 
one of the farm horses, and by making a detour from 
the direct road both in going and coining foil, as I 



240 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

trust, all their plans. But I must go alone. Nobody 
shall be involved in any risk that I may run." 

But my resolution was unshaken to accompany 
Mark. I could not let my chosen friend from boyhood, 
Rachel's brother and mine, take the perilous trip alone. 
And we accordingly set out under circumstances that 
recalled with curious vividness to my mind the memory 
of another journey a vision of dim, silent woods, with 
the same unseen foe lurking in my track the same 
that betrayed me at the Stover's cabin, that struck me 
down without warning and left me for dead under the 
covering veil of solitude and night. 

u I never thought it was going to turn out such a 
lucky thing for you, Mark, when I taught Sam the 
grips and signs," said Joe, slyly, as we were about to 
ride off. For he alone of all the family had been told 
the latter's real errand to Brownsville. 

" So you initiated Sam Toller," said Mark, with a 
quiet smile. " I have always rather suspected that was 
the way of it. But don't you ever intend to let us into 
your secret." 

"Well, that depends" answered Joe, coolly, u on 
how a certain individual, who shall be nameless at 
present, minds his ps and qs." 

And with one glance backward at Rachel as she 
stood smiling her farewells in the open door-way, and 
a furtive look at my pistols to see that they were in 
order I rode on after Mark. And thus like two pal- 
ladins of old, with this notable exception that they 
met their giants and fire-breathing dragons in fair, open 
fight, while our enemy was a snake lurking in ambush, 
whose deadly presence could only be known when we 
felt its fangs, we set forth for Ontario court house. 



OUR JOURNEY. 

" It is my belief that the lodge in Brownsville has 
something to do with this plot against you, Mark, r 
said I, during one of the brief intervals when we al- 
lowed our horses to indulge in a walk. 

"Very likely," was Mark's quiet reply. u And a 
lodge fifty miles away may feel just as much interest to 
suppress my testimony. Masonry is not only a com- 
plete despotism, but it is a perfectly organized system, 
and under it men are like figures on a checker-board, 
with neither will nor volition of their own except as 
the lodge may choose to handle them. Nothing shows 
so much the terrible power of the institution as the 
fact that men who had never seen each other's faces or 
heard each others names, who were separated by long 
distances and could not possibly have held any personal 
communication with each other acted in perfect con- 
cert in this matter of the murder of Morgan." 

" I wonder who that man could have been who mis- 
took me for one of his fellow plotters when I was 
coming down on the canal boat last fall. I shall al- 
ways think he was the one who made the attempt to 
burn Miller's printing office that Sunday night when I 
was stopping at the Park Tavern." 

' "You are right, Leander," said Mark. '" That man 
lurking in the shadow of the stairway was Richard 
Howard, a Knight Templar, one of the chief conspira- 
tors against Morgan, and one that drew the lot to mur- 
der him. He was then acting in concert with Daniel 
Johns, the spy from Canada, who wormed himself into 
the confidence of Morgan and Miller, and by abscond- 
ing with the Chapter degrees a few nights before his 
abduction, made, as the fraternity then supposed, a 
fatal break in the publishing of the work. But I un- 



242 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

derstand that Morgan kept duplicate copies of the 
three first degrees, which were taken from him under 
cover of a civil process in August last, and that they 
are now in the hands of Colonel Miller all ready for 
issue from the press. If these things are so Blue Lodge 
Masonry will soon be published to the world." 

" Mark," said I, solemnly, u I believe this cursed in- 
stitution killed my grandfather. That long, inward 
struggle wore his life away. I am glad Colonel Miller 
is brave and patriotic enough to go on and publish, and 
may it prove a final death-blow to the lodge." 

" The end is not yet, Leander," said Mark, signifi- 
cantly. " The institution whose secret plottings made 
the streets of Paris run red with blood in 1789, whose 
subtle schemings undermined the power of the Puritan 
party in England, and placed Charles II. on the throne, 
will not down without a fierce struggle. And it will 
be a struggle between light and darkness; between the 
liberty our fathers crossed the seas to win and old world 
despotisms; between Christ and anti-Christ. I think I 
see it dimly shadowed forth in Revelation where John 
says ; And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth 
and their armies gathered together to make war against 
him that sat on the horse and against his army.' It 
may not come in this generation. Other issues may 
rise and stave it off for awhile, but come some time it 
surely will." 

" But what do you think the beast represents ? Papal 
Rome?" 

" Papal Rome, you remember, is the woman who sits 
on the beast. How can the two be identical ? To my 
mind the beast rising out of the sea is the old Roman 
Empire, savage, cruel, despotic, so that ' the image of 



OUR JOURNEY. 243 

the beast ' must refer to some organization of modern 
times which reproduces its spirit and character. And 
what is more like it than Freemasonry, with her aim at 
universal empire, her despotic government and savage 
laws, her Baal worship, her hatred and contempt of 
Christ's name. No parallel could be plainer." 

I always liked to hear Mark talk even when 1 did not 
understand him, or was disposed to think him mystical. 
For his mind had that rare balance of faculties on the 
one side the logical and on the other the poetical 
which seems necessary to the full enjoyment and un- 
derstanding of that strange book of Revelation. In 
pondering over its wondrous imagery, its panorama of 
ceaseless conflict with the dragon forces of evil, Mark 
felt his own earnest, intense nature kindle into a new 
zeal and fervor, while for the outward poverty and 
bareness of his life the Apocalyptic splendors of the 
New Jerusalem, with its glorified inhabitants, its end- 
less chants of victory, its perfect freedom from all that 
can vex and annoy, was the same that it has been to 
God's sorely tried ones in all ages, a glorious " recom- 
pence of reward." 

It was expected that bills of indictment would be 
found at this sitting of the court against some of the 
chief actors in the terrible tragedy, as a number of 
witnesses were to be examined, some of whom were 
supposed to have important testimony, and thus a more 
than ordinary interest had been excited. But several 
curious circumstances attended the sitting of this court 
of law. 

" They may question and cross question till they're 
gray; they won't get the truth out of witnesses that 
are bound not to tell^" remarked one of those obligingly 



244 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

communicative individuals who are as ready to dispense 
information as a spring to send forth its waters. u Now 
that last chap that was on the witness stand, he knew 
all about their taking off Morgan, and he perjured him- 
self when he swore he didn't. In my opinion there's 
been an agreement beforehand among a good many of 
the witnesses not to know anything worth telling. 
Things look suspicious when a man comes into court 
and swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and noth- 
ing but the truth, and has his counsel all the while 
by his side to advise him when to answer and when 
not." 

" That's a fact,'' pronounced another in the group, 
for this conversation took place during an adjournment 
of the court, when tongues wagged in busy and not 
over favorable comment on these palpable obstructions 
thus laid in the way of justice. 

u Well, now," went on the first speaker, " my brother 
was witness once in a trial for murder, and he's told 
me that he see Masonic signs pass bet wen the prisoner 
and his counsel and members of the jury. And the 
upshot of the matter was the man was never convicted 
hain't been to this day though nobody had the least 
doubt of his guilt. Talk of Morgan's being alive! 
They'd better tell that to the marines. If Morgan is 
alive why don't they produce him and stop all this 
fuss?" 

" That's hitting the nail on the head square," assented 
another with an approving nod. " But some of the 
come-outers are going to testify this afternoon. Them 
are the ones I want to hear, especially that young 
Stedman. They say he's going to be a hard witness 
agin 'em." 



FBEEMASONRY VS. JUSTICE. N 245 

And a hard witness Mark Stedman proved himself, 
but no harder than one or two others, among whom 
was Mr Samuel D. Greene, our old friend of the Park 
Tavern. His part in the dark and terrible drama was 
now fully revealed, for the unknown divulger of Ma- 
sonry's murderous plottings, the man who nobly dared 
to stand in the breach and warn its defenseless victims 
of their danger, who would have saved Morgan if the 
public apathy had not refused to believe such things 
possible, and who did save Miller by finally rousing a 
band of citizens to start in pursuit of his abductors, was 
one with that grave, silent inn-keeper, who had moved 
so quietly about among his guests during those memora- 
ble days in Batavia. 

I remember how he looked standing there in the old 
court room in the prime of his manhood, his strong, 
squarely built frame telling of generations of sturdy 
yeoman ancestry, as well as I \emember him half a 
century later when the waves of Masonic hate in every 
conceivable shape and form had dashed over him and 
left him grand, heroic old man that he was, unmoved 
at his post and penning such words as these 
r~ u I am an old man and I shall soon be gone, but I 
leave it as my last injunction to my countrymen that 
they watch this institution with a jealous eye. It is 
an enemy to their liberties. It has no thought of the 
general good. It is not founded and worked upon any 
such idea. It is built upon the principle of tyranny in 
all ages the good of the few at the expense of the many^J 

As he unfolded the whole history, the secret plans of 
the lodge and his own efforts to baffle them; as in clear^ 
unvarnished language his scathing testimony branded 
mimes before unimpeached for respectability with the 



246 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

murderer's stigma, a shiver went through the court 
room. rSten looked in each other's eyes questioning if 
it were possible that under all our free institutions lay 
a quaking Vesuvius ready to overwhelm and destroy 
the right purchased so dearly for every American citi- 
zen to kt life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness^ 

Mark's testimony, in spite of the efforts made by the 
counsel on the other side to shake it, was full, clear and 
convincing. Legal cunning, with all its artifices, was 
no match for simple truth. And when, as the last 
weapon in a closing fight he sneeringly asked if all the 
information Mark had been detailing was communicated 
to him Masonically, the venomed point of the inquiry 
which was plainly to prejudice the minds of the jury 
by holding him up as a foresworn witness revealing se- 
crets he had been solemnly pledged to keep was so 
palpably evident that it met with a prompt over-ruling 
from the court as irrel^ant to the case. But he was a 
wily lawyer; as people said of him, a u deep fellow," 
and as after developments showed had been given an 
immense fee by the lodge to clear Morgan's murderers. 
And in his closing address to the jury he made free use 
of those weapon s*of falsehood and innuendo so popular 
with the institution which had chosen him to defend 
her from the serious charges of kidnapping and murder. 

He cautioned them not to be influenced by the ex- 
citement then prevailing an excitement he assured 
them u got up by ambitious demagogues to serve then- 
own political ends." Language that received its proper 
rebuke from the Judge in his address from the bench. 
In grave and dignified words he portrayed the aggra- 
vated nature of the outrage committed, and then 
alluded to the spirit of indignation which it had excited 



FREEMASONRY VS. JUSTICE. 247 

in the breast of every patriotic citizen "as a blessed 
spirit which he hoped would not subside but be ac- 
companied by a ceaseless vigilance and untiring activity 
until every actor in the conspiracy had been hunted 
from his hiding place and received the punishment due 
to his crime." 

Well, it is all over now. Judge, jury and counsel 
have gone to their final reward. That same Judge, 
afterwards Governor of New York, sullied his bright 
record, and from the Governor's chair bowed to the 
Masonic power which he had battled with from the 
bench. As for the lawyer who, Judas-like, betrayed 
the truth for gold, an avenging Nemesis followed in 
his track. God hath requited him. 

" I believe things are in train now for a speedy fer- 
reting out of Morgan's murderers," said Mark,* hope- 
fully, as we turned our heads homeward. If so terrible 
a crime goes unpunished after so many of its details 
have been laid bare and so great an excitement has 
been created it will be something new in the annals of 
justice. 

Could we have foreseen that four long years would 
drag away while case after case was tried before Mason- 
ic grand juries which failed to convict on the clearest 
evidence; that witnesses would be secreted, bribed, 
threatened; that even the Chief Executive of the State 
would be corrupted, and confidential communications 
exposed to the gaze of the lodge, thus thwarting every 
design to arrest the murderers; that in short the shield 
of a vast, secret, irresponsible power would always in- 
terpose at the most critical moment between them and 
the sword of justice; and furthermore, could we have 
known as lodge after lodge surrendered its charter, and 



248 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

the whole dark system seemed to be in its last death 
throes, it was only feigning to die, that the popular 
attention turned to another question it might recuper- 
ate its strength, and under a hundred protean disguises 
secretly and silently seize the places of public trust, 
muzzle press and pulpit, and cause even the watchmen 
of Zion to be dumb dogs what should we have 
thought? what should we have said? 

But it was well that we did not foresee the future; 
that, as we rode homeward, urging our horses to a 
swifter gallop as the shadows of night fell darkling 
around us, we believed that the end was near, or our 
hearts might have sunk within us at the seeming hope- 
less nature of such a struggle with such a foe. 

Mark Stedman had escaped for this time the trap laid 
for his/eet, and the only resource for his baffled ene- 
mies of the lodge was to plan some other and subtler 
scheme if they dared. 

But would they dare? We shall see. 



. * 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES. 




my private papers is one yellow^ 
time-stained document which reads as 
follows: 

November 30th, 18-26. 
BKOWKSVILLE LODGE, No. - . 

Brother Leandar Severns: Whereas sundry charges 
have been preferred against you of un-Masonic conduct in false- 
ly accusing brother members, aiding and abetting the enemies 
of the order, and otherwise deporting yourself to the general in- 
jury of the fraternity, you are hereby summoned to appear at the 
. next regular meeting of Brownsville lodge to answer said charges, 
and show good and sufficient reason why you should not be expelled 
for the same. By order of the lodge . 

BAXTER STEBBINS, Secretary. 

I put the summons in my pocket to show to Rachel. 
It may as well be stated in passing that I had just re- 
ceived a certain wifely reproof, which on looking the 
matter over seriously with the golden rule for a measure 
and guide which same old-fashioned rule b} T the way 
is just as admirably adapted to married people as any 
one else I came to the conclusion was deserved. 

" Leander," she said, laying down her sewing and 
walking up to me with the flush on her cheek decidedly 
deepening, u I thought there were to be no secrets be- 
tween us any more. Do you think I would have said 
a word to keep you back from sharing Mark's danger? 
Don't you know yet what kind of a woman you have 
married?' 1 



250 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

u A woman as fair as her namesake and brave as 
Deborah, and " but here Rachel put her hand over my 
mouth and stopped me. 

" Don't be silly, Leander. I don't want compliments. 
I want you to promise when you or Mark are in any 
danger again not to keep it from me." 

tk I thought it would save you from worrying, Rachel." 

" If that isn't just like a man!" replied Rachel, the 
laughter coming back into her eyes. " Don't you 
think this mystery about Sam Toller's coming worried 
me any ? As soon as I saw your face I felt it all through 
me that he wasn't here for nothing. You see we women 
shut up at home grow to have a kind of sixth sense, 
and it isn't quite so easy keeping things from us as you 
men seem to imagine. Now don't you ever do so again, 
Leander." And with a little imperative shake of her 
finger Rachel went back to her sewing. But her words 
bore fruit as was evidenced by my showing her the 
lodge summons and asking her advice what to do 
about it. 

u Do nothing, of course. Pretty business to suppose 
they have any control over you, a free man under a free 
government!" And Rachel's eyes glowed with an in- 
dignant fire. 

" Well, shall I burn it up?" 

u Yes. No; give it to me." 

And as Rachel dropped it into her work-box I think 
there was a subtle sense of triumph in the action. 
And who can blame her if she did take a certain fine 
revenge on the institution that had wronged and in- 
sulted her womanhood just as it wrongs and insults 
womanhood everywhere, by consigning its most dread- 



THE SWORD 01* DAMOCLES. 251 

ed weapon to ignominious imprisonment among needle- 
books, hooks and eyes, and skeins of sewing cotton! 

Though not so shining a mark for Masonic obloquy 
and persecution as though I had been a Mason of high- 
er degree, I did not escape a series of petty insults and 
vexations from members of the craft, which is not to 
be wondered at when it is considered that Masonry 
solemnly swears its devotees to " take vengeance on all 
traitors." And as this lovely creed had no stronger 
supporter in Brownsville than Darius Fox, it followed 
naturally that he should be chief among my perse- 
cutors. Like many another man of small moral caliber 
he loved the lodge for the very things that would make 
honest-minded men shrink from joining it. The obli- 
gation to keep all secrets of a companion, the vows to 
a negative morality that is absolute license all these 
he rolled as a sweet morsel under his tongue. What 
wonder then, when he saw the imminent danger that 
threatened his beloved craft, he was filled with rage and 
fury. 

Ways of annoyance are easy enough to find when all 
one's powers are set in that direction. Bars were mys- 
teriously let down, giving my cattle the freedom of the 
neighboring cornfield with the result in a heavy bill 
for damages; an old debt of my grandfather's, paid long 
before his death, was hunted up and made the basis for 
a claim on the estate that could only be settled by sub- 
mitting to the wrong, or by wearisome and costly liti- 
gation. And finally an action for trespass was brought 
against me for laying a new stone wall a trifle outside 
of what was alleged to be the true boundary line be- 
tween my own farm and the one adjoining. 

"The hand of Joab is in this thing," said Luke 



252 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

Thatcher, significantly, to me. " They say Fox threat- 
ens to drive you out of Brownsville." 

Joe happened to be standing by and heard him. 

" I've got a small account to settle with Joab first," 
he remarked, coolly. "I think of going over to-night 
to see him about it, and taking Sam with me." 

" Wall, I reckon yeVe.let him go about to the end o 
his tether," Sam put in with a grin, as he whipped the 
dust from the knees of his trousers with one hand, and 
give a satisfied thump to the crown of his hat with the 
other. "It won't hurt him nor nobody else if ye tie 
him up a grain closer." 

For Sam was once more installed as general factotum 
in and about the house, the same queer, shiftless good- 
for-naught, whose short-comings had so often roused 
the ire of the much-enduring Miss Loker. He always 
alluded to my grandfather with a kind of tender, touch- 
ing reverence. 

" I tell ye the Captain was a Christian. Some folks 
never care how they treat a hired man, but yer grand- 
'ther, now, was one of the kind that allus wanted his 
men to hev as good victuals and drink as he had him- 
self. And when I think about him I like to remember 
that verse in Revelations about their all sitting down 
together to the Marriage Supper up above. He'll hev 
good fare there, no mistake." 

0, it is a blessed thing when the poor and lowly keep 
our memories green after the places that knew us once 
know us no more forever; when their kindly thoughts 
follow us like attending angels as we pass into the 
eternal mysteries of the life beyond. 

I have previously mentioned the fact that Darius Fox 
kept a distillery. It was to this place that Sam and 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES. ' 253 

Joe, when the evening shadows began to gather and the 
farm chores were over for the day, directed their steps 
an ancient, smoke-stained building much frequented 
by the men and boys of Brownsville, either because 
they liked the odor of the still, the chance of imbibing 
stray drops of the sweet liquor through a straw, or for 
some social charm inherent in the general atmosphere 
of the place. 

Joe sat down nonchalantly on one of the big casks 
beside old Ezekiel Trull, who was partially deaf; and 
drawing a small volume from out his pocket inquired 
in the loud tones rendered necessary by the old gentle- 
man's infirmity 

" Have you seen one of Morgan's books yet, Mr. 
Trull ? I heard Miller had got it out so I sent for one 
the other day." 

u Morgan's book out! the one they murdered him for 
trying to get up. Dew tell. I'd give a sight to see it," 
answered the old man, eagerly, fumbling for his spec- 
tacles, and speaking himself in that high key natural 
to the deaf, so that the general attention was attracted 
precisely as Joe meant it should be. 

They crowded round to see the book, some scornful, 
but all curious. Even Darius Fox drew near with the 
rest. The thing to prevent which he and so many 
others had united to murder Morgan had not been pre- 
vented after all. Here was the work for which he gave 
his life, rising phoenix-like from his martyr's grave 
under the cold waters of Niagara, tenfold more potent 
through his death. And this was what they in their 
mad rage against him had accomplished. 

He took the book, shuffled the leaves over, then threw 
it from him with an oath. 



254 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

" It's just a pack of lies, but they'll do to fool Anti- 
masons with." 

" If that is the case it ain't worth swearing about, 
seems to me," said Joe, coolly, as he stooped to pick up 
the book, a trifle the worse for the rough treatment it 
had received. His retort was fol]owed by a laugh from 
one or two who, saw the point. It angered Darius, who 
fiercely repeated 

" I say it again. The book is a vile imposition. I 
don't want to see no more of it than I have." And 
Darius turned away, but not so quickly that he failed 
to hear Sam Toller drawl out 

* l Say, Joe, ain't it a good deal like that book ye bor- 
rowed once? Or I dunno as ye 'zactly borrowed it. 
Kinder fell in yer way, didn't it? Maybe Morgan 
copied from that." 

u If he did he has altered one or two things. That 
was J. B.; this is B. J.," replied Joe. 

U B. J.? That ain't the title of the book, is it?" 
asked one of the company not posted in lodge lore, 
while Mr. Fox, trembling at the idea that Joe might 
be on the brink of revealing what would certainly 
make him the laughing-stock of the whole neighbor, 
hood if it should ever get out, was for once in the un- 
pleasant predicament of not knowing what to do or 
say. But to make peace with his dangerous adversary, 
in the words of Scripture, " while he was in the way 
with him," seemed the only discreet thing to do under 
the circumstances. 

" Sam," he said, " I wish you would help me a minute 
out here. And you too, Joe, if you will. It's only a 
band's turn I want." And Sam and Joe accordingly 
followed Mr. Fox, who led them into a small, unfinished 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES. 255 

room in the rear of the building, and pouring out two 
glasses of his own liquor he presented one to each, say- 
ing in an injured tone as he -did so 

" This is confounded mean business to go and blow 
on a fellow after you've given your solemn promise to 
keep mum. 1 ' 

" Now look here, Mister," answered Joe, scornfully 
refusing the proffered peace-offering to which Sam, on 
the contrary, had due respect. " When I heard that 
you were throwing out hints to the lodge that Leander 
had been letting out the secrets, I went to you and I 
warned you pretty plain that the real traitor would be 
exposed if that talk wasn't all taken back. When 
Jachin and Boaz tumbled out of your pocket and I 
picked it up one night when you were going home from 
the lodge too drunk to know your right hand from your 
left, I had no thought of making you ridiculous and 
hurling you in the lodge by telling the story round how 
I came by the secrets. I only wanted a little fun and 
I had it, by teaching them to Sam, so that he could 
pass himself off for a Mason. But now the secrets are 
all out my little game is up, but I see yours isn't. Be- 
cause Leander knows that Masons murdered Morgan, 
and ain't afraid to say so; because he left the lodge like 
an honest man when he found out what Masonry really 
is, you've persecuted him every way you could think of. 
You've used tools and tried to keep your hand hidden, 
but what is the use when everybody in Brownsville 
knows as well as I do that you are at the bottom of all 
this mischief. Now, Mr. Fox, unless you give me your 
solemn pledge with Sam Toller here for a witness, to 
have all legal proceedings against Leander dropped, and 
not to trouble him any more, that story shall be spread 



256 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

all over the neighborhood. And I mean what I say. 
You had better be careful, Darius Fox, just for your 
own good. Folks say thai? you know all about Morgan, 
and they say some other things that are not exactly to 
your credit, but I ain't called on to repeat 'em. Just 
give me that promise. That's all I want of you" 

Darius Fox stood for a moment in silence, but he had 
enough good sense to accept Joe's alternative. 

" You're too hard on me, Joe, But that matter about 
the wall if I can get Joel Barnes to drop it I will. I 
was only in the way of my duty serving my writ. A 
sheriff has to act without respect of persons, you 
know." 

"0, yes; Mason or Antimason," answered Joe, sar- 
castically, as he marched off in company with the 
chuckling Sam. " Good night, Mr. Fox, I hope you 
will remember the little talk we've just had and govern 
yourself accordingly.' 1 

One more scene and Darius Fox fades from my story. 




CHAPTER XXVIII. 

MASONRY REVEALED. SAM TOLLER'S MASONRY. THE 
MYSTERY OF OAK ORCHARD CREEK. 

HE appearance of Morgan's book deep- 
ened the public agitation and excite- 
ment. To many in the Masonic ranks 
it came like a decree of emancipation. 
The secrets were out; if not actually 
proclaimed from the house-tops they were 
freely sold to the simplest cowan who chose 
to invest a part of his day's wages in learning 
the august and sublime mysteries of Freerfta- 
sonry. Why were they bound to keep secret what was 
no secret? And some bolder spirits, among whom was 
Mark Stedman, went farther. Why not tear away the 
veil that hid the higher degrees? and show Masonry 
personating Jehovah in the burning bush, or seated as 
the All-Puissant on his throne of judgment, thus liter- 
ally fulfilling the New Testament prophecies of the 
Man of Sin; show Christ's Holy Supper profaned in 
horrible burlesque by deacons and drunkards, ministers 
and libertines and finally the veil entirely withdrawn, 
show her swearing her devotees "to crush the head of 
the serpent of ignorance a serpent which we detest, 
that is adored by the idiot and vulgar under the name 
of RELIGION!'' 



258 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

This will surely be the death-blow to Masonry. So 
said and thought the band of patriots which met at Le 
Roy and placed on record for all future time their in 
dependence as Christian men and American citizens. 
So thought every honest man and woman who read or 
heard their testimony. So thought Joe, who concluded 
it was time to surrender his secret. And accordingly 
one day I found a bundle of foolscap laid in convenient 
reach for my inspection, all written over with the first 
three Masonic degrees. 

"What under the sun have you got here, Joe?" I 
exclaimed. 

" Only something for Rachel to kindle her fire with,'' 
was the cool reply. " That is all it is good for now. 
Say, Leander, do you remember that old book I was 
looking at the night you joined the lodge?" 

" To be sure I do. Now, how did you come by it?" 

"Easy enough. I was walking home from Jake 
Goodwin's party " 

"Who with?" I interrupted, with that teasing free- 
dom in which elder brothers sometimes indulge. 

u Come, Leander," answered Joe, coloring, " that is 
no business of yours. If you ask impertinent ques- 
tions I shall stop. Of course I went home with some- 
body, but we had parted company, and I was just 
coming over the hill there by the widow Tappan's when 
I overtook Darius Fox coming home from lodge just 
half seas over; I never saAV him really drunk before, 
but folks say since the Morgan affair happened he's 
been getting into drinking ways fast." 

" I've noticed it myself. Well. Joe, go on." 

" His gait was very unsteady, and once he nearly 
pitched over, and in the jerk he give to save himself, 



SAM TOLLER'S MASONRY. 259 

or some way, that book iell out of his pocket. There 
was a good bright moon and I stopped a minute to ex- 
amine it. The title Jachin and Boaz sounded as 
though it was some kind of a religious book, but that 
kind of reading is not quite in Darius' line, so I looked 
a little farther. When I see it was something about 
Masonry I slapped it into my pocket quick as a wink. 
1 So ho,' thinks I, fc this is the way you lodge members 
post yourselves. What is to hinder my learning the 
signs and grips and initiating Sam Toller?' You know 
Sam is always ready for a joke, and he was just as 
much tickled with the idea as I was. But learning it 
by heart was such a job Sam told me I had better copy 
it off. So I bought a quire of foolscap ami we sat up 
two whole nights out in the barn to do it.' 1 

u I wonder you didn't set the barn on fire, Joe." 
k< Well, we did come pretty nigh it once," confessed 
Joe, " when we thought we heard Miss Lojter or some- 
body else coming. Sam scrabbled so to hide our light 
he tipped it over, and I thought for a minute we should 
be all in a blaze. When we got it nicely copied off 
T had a fine chance to return it on the sly. Miss 
Loker sent me over to the Fox place for some kind of 
dried herb she wanted, and while Aunt Subrey was 
rummaging over her collections up stairs I clapped the 
book right back again into the pocket of Darius' coat 
that was laying over a chiiir in the keeping room the 
very same one he had on that night. And the joke of 
the matter is, Darius had never missed it, so lie never 
thought Ae was the leaky vessel till I come to blow him 
up for calling you a traitor. You should have seen his 
face. But I had the staff in my own hands, and I've 
kept it there ever since. Darius is like an alligator 



&60 HOLDEX WITH COfcbS. 

bullet proof except in one particular spot. He don't 
like to be laughed at. Now I know just as well as I 
want to that he set Joel Barnes on to make trouble 
about that wall. And you may just thank me that it 
has all ended in smoke. And another thing Sam tells 
me, these men t^at were going to carry off Mark Sted- 
man bragged that Sheriff Fox would never arrest them. 
' He's a Royal Arch,' said one, ' and knows as much 
about Morgan as anybody except them that pushed 
him into the river." Tin glad I don't stand in his 
shoes." 

And Joe went off after letting in this flood of light* 
on more than one hitherto mysterious point; among 
others the sudden stay of proceedings in the before- 
mentioned trespass case. Though one reason may 
have been that Darius himself was before long in the 
grasp of that law which, under guise of administering, 
he had violated and defied. 

At the next sitting o f the county court a bill of in- 
dictment was found against him for procuring a car- 
riage in which to convey Morgan one stage of his 
journey and otherwise helping on the work of kid- 
napping and murder. But the trial was put off on ac- 
count of some technical irregularity, and the same 
strange difficulties appeared that had beset the way of 
justice in the case of at least a score of others, formally 
indicted, but somehow impossible to convict. The 
hoodwink over the eyes of Masonic juries blinded them 
to the clearest evidence of guilt. Witnesses were 
counselled beforehand by Masonic lawyers to withhold 
the truth, and when examined the questions were so 
adroitly put that they could be answered without re- 
vealing anything on which to frame indictments or 



THE MYSTERY OF OAK ORCHARD CREEK. 261 

prove criminality. And when most important links in 
the evidence were wanting, witnesses who had knowl- 
edge of the desired facts were strangely spirited off no- 
body knew whither, thus baffling all efforts to forge a 
chain of clear and decisive proof. 

It was plain to see that the whole Masonic fraternity 
had an interest in stifling investigation; that it intend- 
ed the fate of Morgan should remain forever one of 
those shrouded secrets to which the years only add a 
deeper mystery as they bear them farther and farther 
on towards the light of God's great Day of final re- 
vealing. But since the time when the earth refused to 
cover the blood of Abel," there has been a deep-seated 
belief in the human mind, borne out by many a strange 
and curious fact, that subtle agencies are continually 
at work to dog the murderer's steps and drag his secrets 
into human view as if the heart of our great Mother 
Nature herself rose in shuddering revolt to cast it out 
of her bosom. 

On the 8th day of October, 1827, a little over a year 
from the mysterious disappearance of Morgan, the body 
of an unknown man was cast ashore at Oak Orchard 
Creek, and hastily buried after an equally hurried in- 
quest. This fact soon became noised abroad, and the 
question arose and passed from lip to lip. ki What if this 
unknown man should prove to be Morgan?" The fact 
that all were Masons who officiated at the inquest, and 
that as soon as the body came ashore members of the 
fraternity were on the watch to inter it as quickly and 
quietly as possible, pointed suspicion. 

A second inquest was resolved upon ; Mrs. Morgan 
was notified and invitations sent out to his old friends 
and neighbors in Batavia to appear and give testimony. 



But the story of this second inquest as well as some 
curious after circumstances which finally led to a third 
one after the identity of the body was supposed to be 
established beyond doubt, I can best give in the words 
of my grandfather's old friend, Mr. Jedediah Mills, 
whom I came across one day when on a visit to a 
neighboring town. 

I thought Mr. Mills looked thinner and a trifle care- 
worn, but he shook my hand with the same hearty 
cordiality that had welcomed me to Tonawanda; aud a 
few words sufficed to launch him on a subject which 
was just then the theme of universal conversation 
the strange discovery of Morg-an's body and the still 
stranger circumstances attending the efforts made to 
identify it. 

It's a queer story from beginning to end. If I had 
read it somewhere in a novel I vow I wouldn't have be- 
lieved it. You see the river had been dragged to find 
the body, and I suppose it got started somehow from 
the weight that held it to the bottom, and floated on 
top. The water of Niagara River ain't just like com- 
mon river water; it's clearer and colder. Why, I've 
known a man that was lost over the falls and when 
they found him a year after he hadn't hardly changed. 
Now I ain't any surer that I'm a living man than I am 
that this was Morgan's body. Mr. Greene was there 
to the inquest, and Colonel Miller and Captain Davids, 
and they all said the same thing. And his poor wife, 
when she come to look at the corpse, she just said, 'My 
God!' and it seemed for a minute as if she was going to 
faint dead away, I declare, I felt 1 don't know how, 
to see that poor young thing pretty as a picture, too, 
with the tears a running down her cheeks, and thought 



THE MYSTERY OF OAK ORCHARD CREEK. 263 

how she was left all alone, in the world with her two 
fatherless babes. What if it had been my Hannah 
now! I can't feel reconciled to some things that hap- 
pen in this world, nohow." 

And Mr. Mills pulled out his handkerchief and made 
vigorous use thereof, while I echoed inwardly, " Poor 
young thing!" hardly older than Rachel, yet called to 
such a baptism of suspense and anguish; mocked in 
her perplexity and distress by the very men who had 
taken her husband's life, as related in the words of her 
simple and touching affidavit. Verily there are things 
that make us wonder at the patience of the Infinite; 
but among the promises of Holy Writ is one that 
shines with that awful glory which is finally to destroy 
every system of darkness and oppression. Well may 
the Church herself look to it that she is not in unholy 
league with a power that persecutes the saints of the 
Most High and hides in its skirts innocent blood. 
u The day of vengeance of. our God shall surety come; 
it shall come and will not tarry." 

" Mrs. Morgan's testimony was very clear, I under- 
stood, about the marks on the body."' said L 

" Clear!" echoed Mr. Mills. " There wan't a flaw in 
it. She testified before the lid of the coffin was opened 
about the hair chestnut color, long and silky, and 
about his having double teeth all around, and told 
where he'd had one pulled out. And the very doctor 
that pulled it was there from Batavia and had the 
tooth with him, and it fitted right into the place. And 
she told, too, about a scar on his foot made by cutting 
it with an axe, and sure enough when they come to 
look there it was plain as day. Oh, there was no getting 
over such evidence if she didn't tell ri^ht about the 



HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

clothes. But that is easy (enough explained to my 
mind. I believe the Masons changed Morgan's clothes 
when they had him shut up in the fort." 

" You're idea is reasonable, Mr. Mills," said I, after 
thinking it over for a moment. u They intended in 
the event of the body ever being- found to prevent 
identification as far as possible." 

u just so. Exactly; 1 ' answered Mr. Mills. " Well 
of course the body was brought to Batavia and buried; 
and then came the queer part of the story. It begun 
to be told round among Masons that it was a Timothy 
Munroe, a man that was drowned in Niagara River a 
few weeks before that we'd got buried there. So a 
third inquest was held and this Munroe's wife and son 
or a woman and a boy that called themselves by that 
name came before the 'coroner's jury and swore to its 
being Munroe instead of Morgan." 

u What kind of a testimony did the woman give?" I 
inquired. 

" I didn't think much of it," answered Mr. Mills, 
emphatically. "She told about the double teeth all 
round, but she couldn't tell to which jaw the tooth that 
was pulled belonged. She said his hair was short and 
black, and she didn't know anything about the scar on 
his foot. But come to the clothes, and she run on as 
glibly as an auctioneer. She even told of a place in 
the heel of his stocking that had been mended with 
yarn of a different color. There was something mys- 
terious about that woman," added Mr. Mills, lowering 
his voice. " You've read in the Bible, I suppose, about 
the judgment of Solomon. Well, if I had been Solo- 
mon, and that case was brought before me, I should 
have known mighty quick on which side to give judg- 



THE MYSTERY OF OAK ORCHARD CREEK. 265 

ment, Morgan's wife or that Munroe woman. I've got 
my own thoughts about her that I don't tell to every- 
body. I believe she was a man dressed up in woman's 
clothes." 

I stared at Mr. Mills in astonishment. Could it be 
that the ancient and glorious order of Freemasonry, 
which treats the whole female sex with such sublime 
contempt, was actually not above borrowing its dress 
in ;m emergency when some little irregularity, entirely 
Masonic, but which the general sense of mankind 
strangely enough disapproves of, needed to be covered 
up? as for instance kidnapping and murder? 

*' She kept her veil down over her face," continued 
Mr. Mills, u so it was her gait and her voice T judged 
by mostly, but them two things were enough for me. 
The boy with her was the greenest kind of a fellow 
that I ever sat eyes on; just the chap to be made a tool 
of in any such business. And when the amiir was over 
they both disappeared, nobody knew where. But I'll 
j nst tell you" and here Mr. Mills again lowered his 
voice confidentially, u what my wife's cousin Joshua 
says about it. He lives in Wayne county, next door to 
a doctor by the name of Lewis, a Royal Arch Mason, 
and one that had considerable to do with taking off 
Morgan. He says the Masons round there were dread- 
ful flurried when they knew Morgan's body was recog- 
nized. The doctor give out that he h&d a very danger- 
ous patient in the next town, and hurried off post haste 
with his hostler Mike, but instead of going to perform 
an operation as he said, it was found out afterwards that 
he had gone in the direction of Batavia. I described 
the woman and boy as well as I could to Joshua and he 
just clappod his hands on his knees, and says he, ' I'd 



HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

be willing to lay you a five-dollar gold piece that Mrs. 
Munroe and her son was Dr. Lewis and his coach-boy.' 
It's a queer kind of a world;" and Mr. Mills sighed 
with that deep-drawn sigh that only comes from the 
hidden places of trouble, " Now I never thought that 
in my old age I should be in danger of losing my farm. 
But the title deed wan't quite right; something put in 
or something left out, I hardly know which, and I'm 
here after a lawj^er, though I hain't much opinion of 
lawyers nor courts nuther now-a-days." 

It was the old story over again of persecution and 
wrong that was to find no redress this side of the grave; 
of injustice shielded under the sacred form of law; of 
the wicked laying a snare for the righteous in the secret 
chambers of iniquity, and saying, "Behold the Lord 
doth not regard." 




CHAPTER XXIX 

SUNDRY HAPPENINGS. 

.HOUGH it still continued in many minds 
an unsettled question whether or no 
Morgan's body had actually been dis- 
covered, popular excitement was wak- 
ened anew. Masons were exultant over 
the Timothy Munroe story, while the op- 
posite party saw in it nothing but a clever 
ruse by which to deceive the public and influ- 
ence the approaching elections. For the whole 
subject from being a mere matter for the courts to deal 
with had now come to play an important part in our 
national politics. In a country where the unbiased 
will of the people constitutes the only court of appeal 
it follows naturally that all great moral evils must 
stand their trial sooner or later before that august 
tribunal. And Masonry had reached the point sooner 
for the reason that her haughty defiance of law and 
justice, as well as her arrogant assumption of an au- 
thority superior to that of the State had alarmed all 
candid and thoughtful men, and fairly forced the ques- 
tion to a political issue. 

That the strife as it went on should develop a spirit 
of heat and acrimony and unfairness even on the side 



268 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

of the partizans of truth, is nothing strange consider- 
ing the infirmities of human nature. For in every 
rising of popular wrath against an established wrong 
or abuse there is a grand intolerance, like an earth- 
quake or a whirlwind that levels indiscriminately; it 
makes no allowance for possible honesty on the part of 
some who support that particular evil against which 
the arrows are for the time being hurled. Timorous 
Masons cowered before the storm, and withdrew from 
the lodge in shame and silence, while others of different 
caliber, roused to a perfect frenzy of bitterness and 
hate at the threatened downfall of their cherished in- 
stitution persecuted, with all the weapons malice could 
invent, those recreant brethren who had testified to its 
evil works. 

Such was the situation in the fall of 1827, a year 
after the death of Morgan. 

Elder Gushing preached on; his congregation, as re- 
garded the male members, almost entirely Masonic, 
sustained him. But there had been no revival in the 
church since the period of its first planting, and it was 
soon apparent to all that the candle-stick was being 
slowly moved out of its place, especially when a series 
of religious meetings in the neighborhood had drawn 
in many of the young people and caused not a few to 
inquire anxiously the way of salvation. For so deep 
was the interest manifested that these meetings were 
continued and formed the seed of a new church, small 
in numbers but rich in faith, and full of that spiritual 
life and energy which naturally abounds where most of 
the members are new converts. It took in Rachel and 
I and baptized our little one dear old Methodist Epis- 
copal church whom I shall never cease to love, though 



269 

1 love the Church Universal better. And though peo- 
ple and pastor alike have in too many instances forgot- 
ten the faith of their early founders, and turned aside 
to a strange worship, God visit them in mercy and 
bring them back to their first love! 

The Morgan trials dragged slowly along without 
reaching any definite result. His murderers, still at 
large, defied the hand of law to touch them, and before 
'winter was over Brownsville had its sensation in the 
sudden flight of Darius Fox, against whom new evi- 
dence had appeared implicating him still more deeply 
in the plot, so that another warrant was speedily issued 
for his arrest. 

" They say the officers were after him,'' said Joe, 
who brought in the news, " but somehow he got wind 
of it and cleared out. It wasn't an hour before they 
came to arrest him that Seth Briggs says he was talk- 
ing with him about a young horse he wanted to buy. 
They couldn't seem to come to a bargain, and while 
they were chaifing lie saw Darius look up and grow sort 
of white about the mouth. k I'm in a hurry now. 7 said 
he, ' we'll let the matter go till another time. 1 And 
Seth says he noticed a man come in while thej^ were 
talking that he is sure gave Fox the Masonic sign. 
Anyhow he's left Brownsville," concluded Joe, u and I 
hope his place will be filled by a better man." 

In which expression Joe was not alone, but there 
remained another surprise for the people of Browns- 
ville in the fact that the ex-sheriff had not left his 
affairs in the confused state which would seem to fol- 
low naturally on such a sudden flight. All his proper- 
ty, including the distillery, was soon found to have 
been secretly purchased rumor said by the lodge at a 



270 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

price so far in advance of its real value as to cover all 
pecuniary loss sustained in his abrupt departure. As 
it is on record by indisputable authority that the Grand 
Lodge and Grand Chapter of the State contributed 
large sums during the time the Morgan trials were 
pending for the aid and defence of their distressed Ma- 
sonic brethren it will be seen that their claim to 
benevolence is not without a certain foundation ; but 
as a band of thieves and murderers would probably 
be just as benevolent under similar circumstances I will 
cite one historical instance and let the subject pass. 

The following spring, Richard Howard, the midnight 
incendiary, closely pursued by the officers of justice, 
entered an encampment of Knight Templars in the 
city of New York, and there confessed himself guilty 
of the murder of Morgan. He was helped to embark 
on board a vessel bound for some European port; and 
with the wages of sin in his hand, fled his native coun- 
try, and how or where he died only the Judgment Day 
will reveal. The two others also escaped -the grasp of 
the law by a flight into what was then the extreme 
western boundaries of the Union, but who shall say 
they went unpunished? that in dreams haunted by 
the last look of their victim, in the sigh of the wind or 
the rustle of a leaf instinct with startling messages of 
fear for their guilty souls God did not vindicate his 
righteous judgment against all murderers. 

Mark Stedman had been appointed on a circuit that 
came very near the Tonawanda line. For this reason 
or some other we soon found out by his letters that he 
was a frequent guest in the family of Mr. Jedediah 
Mills, whose troubles he was not slow to ascribe to 
their true origin the machinations of the lodge. 



MARK AND HANNAH. 271 

" They mean to ruin him for the part he played ill 
the rescue of Colonel Miller,' 1 wrote Mark. l< When a 
vast secret power like Masonry sets itself against one 
solitary individual thai individual must go to the wall. 
They mean to ruin Mr. Greene of the Park Tavern, 
and they are doing it as fast as they can by 'deranging 
his business ' in every possible way. To tell you all 
the outrages he has suffered would fill a volume. He is 
making a brave fight, but what avails it against such 
an enemy? How long, Lord, shall the wicked per- 
secute? How long shall they bend their bow and 
make ready their arrows upon the string that they may 
privily shoot at the upright in heart?" 

" Leander." said Rachel, suddenly. * l I have heard of 
Hannah Mills through one of the Lokers. Miss Alvira 
Loker, you know, has connections in Tonawanda. She 
calls Hannah a real good Christian girl, and if Mark 
has taken a liking to her I am glad. He needs just 
such a wife as she would make him. Mark is all spirit 
he forgets he has a body to be taken care of. I saw 
that plain enough when he. was here two months ago. 
He was pale and thin and had a hacking cough on him. 
No wonder, catching cold every little while and never 
taking anything for it. Riding for miles wet to the 
skin, and then preaching, and then off 'again to hold 
another service somewhere else. He wants somebody 
to see to him, that he don't break down in a consump- 
tion before his work is half done; to lecture him every 
time he forgets to wear an overcoat or tie up his throat; 
to insist on his taking a hot drink after he has been out 
in the wet and cold, and see that his flannels are in 
order, and a thousand and one things that only a wife 
can do for him a plain, sensible Christian woman that 



HOLDEK WITH COKI>S. 

will glory in his usefulness and share his love for souls, 
and yet be a practical, common-sense adviser in all the 
ordinary affairs of -life. Mark is all spirituality and 
ideality and heroism and what not, and I consider it a 
beneficent arrangement of Providence that such men 
are usually attracted to their opposites." 

" Dear me, Rachel," I said, "you talk as if the whole 
matter was prearranged. Mark hasn't even mentioned 
Hannah Mills in this letter." 

" Precisely the circumstance that adds weight to my 
suspicions," answered Rachel, briskly. "If he had 
mentioned her I should think there was nothing in it. 
You don't know everything, Leander." 

And Rachel, who I must confess had in her secret 
heart a little of that love of matchmaking not uncom- 
mon in happily married wives, smiled with the pleasant 
complacency of superior knowledge, while I only 
uttered that sage and safe remark appropriate to all 
conditions of mortal uncertainty, u We shall see." 

At the very time this conversation occurred, Mark 
Stedrnan was traveling on his circuit through woods 
just leafing out with the emerald hues of spring, and 
thinking over the subject on which he intended to 
preach when he reached his destination, a lonely school 
house where meetings were held at stated periods. He 
rode slowly, occasionally referring to his pocket Bible 
for some text, a kind of holy rapture filling his soul as 
he thought of the grandeur of the struggle before him 
and the joys of that final victory when the kingdoms 
of this world should become the kingdoms of our Lord 
and of his Christ when every refuge of lies should be 
swept away and that embodiment of Satanic power and 
malice, the man of sin to which the New Testament 



MARK AND HANNAH. 273 

writers point in dim and awful prophecy, should be for- 
ever destroyed in the brightness of his glorious second 
coming. For to such a mind as Mark's, things unseen 
and eternal have a palpable reality impossible to com- 
prehend by any soul that lingers outside the pale of a 
full consecration. As he rode along intent on the 
message he was to deliver, earth seemed nothing and 
less than nothing; God and his eternal truth, every- 
thing. 

Suddenly a shot split the air fired from the thicket 
through which Mark was passing. It took effect, 
wounding him in the arm. Another and another fol- 
lowed in quick succession but the flash and report so 
frightened his horse that it needed no spurring but 
broke at once into a furious run, and the second and 
third balls whizzed harmlessly past. 

Providence doubtless ordered that the affair should 
happen near Tonawanda, and that when his trembling 
horse finally stopped, reeking with foam, it was close 
by Mr. Jedediah Mills' gate. His injury proved to be a 
flesh wound and nothing very serious, but he had to 
submit to considerable dressing and bandaging for a 
few days, during which time his resolution was taken 
to do what he had more than once half resolved upon 
doing in some of his lonely rides, and then abandoned 
as too great a sacrifice to require of the woman he 
loved ask Hannah Mills if in deed and in truth she 
was willing to be the wife of a poor circuit preachei 
who felt it his mission to take side with every unpop- 
ular reform, and preach all sorts of unpalatable truths, 
and whom the world would frown upon accordingly, 
reserving its smiles for those prophets who prophesy 
unto it smooth things; who moreover was now engaged 



274 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

in deadly conflict with an unsparing foe sworn to per- 
secute him to the death would she, knowing all these 
things, consent to share his lot? 

I happen to know Hannah's answer. It came in the 
words of a certain old Hebrew idyl which has stood for 
ages and will stand while time lasts as the epitome of 
that self-sacrificing devotion which shrinks from no 
trial with the loved one at its side. 

And so Hannah Mills became Hannah Stedman, the 
elder's wife; and in process of time KachePs wish was 
realized in that unlocked for way in which our wishes 
so often become prophecies, by their eventually occupy- 
ing the very cottage from which we had moved on our 
grandfather's death. 

As for Rachel, she would scarcely have been human 
if she had never once said, " I told you so." 



CHAPTER XXX. 




MASONIC SLANDER. THE ENGAGEMENT. RATTLESNAKE 
CORNER. 

S soon as we heard of the attack on Mark 
I started off for Tonawanda. It was not 
likely the actual perpetrators of the out- 
rage would ever be known, but there was 
no reasonable doubt that they were tools 
of the lodge whose first plot to silence his 
fearless testimony had so signally miscarried 
-thanks to Sam Toller. 

At one of the stopping places on the way an 
incident occurred so strongly illustrative of that spirit 
in Masonry which a distinguished seceder and writer 
on the subject has justly denominated " infernal," that 
I cannot forbear transcribing it. 

A man well dressed, but with a general mingling of 
the fumes of whisky and tobacco about his person 
rather too strong to be agreeable, stood leaning against 
the bar apparently on the lookout for an acquaintance, 
which he finally recognized in a thin-visaged, nervous- 
looking individual with an umbrella and big carpet 
bag. The latter returned his salute with a rather 
slight nod and cool "How d'ye do?" but the other 
was of a class not eas}' to snub. 



HOLDEN WITH CORD&. 

" Going to put up at Greene's?' 1 he inquired, famil- 
iarly. 

" I was calculating to," responded the one interro- 
gated. 

" Maybe it's none of my business," resumed the 
other, with the air of a person obliged to say disagree- 
able things at the call of duty, u but if I did as I would 
like to be done by, [ should tell you that Greene's tav- 
ern ain't a good place for travelers that have anything 
valuable about them. If I was obliged to put up there 
I should sleep with one eye open." 

The nervous looking man glanced toward his carpet 
bag as if he saw it already in possession of unlawful 
hands, and answered in a, slow, appalled way, u You 
don't say so. Why now I had no idea the Park Tavern 
was such a place, but I guess I'll go on to the next 
stand ; it won't be much further. I declare, there's no 
knowing who to trust now-a-days." And depositing 
his umbrella carefully between his legs he sat down in 
a remote corner apparently absorbed in mournful re- 
flections on the general wickedness of the world. 

" Well, now," put in the landlord, who was standing 
behind the bar, making some entries in his book, u I 
must say I am surprised to hear that. I always sup- 
posed Greene kept a pretty nice house." 

U I reckon after you had a bran new ten-dollar horse 
blanket taken from you as a neighbor of mine did that 
put up there last winter, you wouldn't think so, land- 
lord. The fact is Greene's tavern is getting to be 
really a disreputable place to stop at, and I only do as 
my conscience tells me to in warning any traveler that 
I happen to know against going there." 

It is needless to say that my blood fairly boiled with 



MASONIC SLANDER. 277 

indignation while I listened to ohese base calumnies, 
knowing so well their foul origin. Should I remain 
silent and let this thing in human semblance spit out 
his vile venom without reproof or contradiction? 
Never. 

" I know Mr. Greene to be a Christian and a gentle- 
man; 1 ' I said, turning to the man of conscience. "This 
is the first time I ever heard that travelers' things were 
not safe at his house.'' 

My words had a somewhat similar effect to poking a 
venomous snake with a stick. 

The -stranger reddened with rage, and answered 
fiercely, " Do you tell me then that I lie?" 

" No," I responded, quietly, " I hope you are only 
misinformed. But I repeat what I said, Mr. Greene 
has always borne a character above reproach; and it is 
certainly strange that no stories to the discredit of his 
house were ever circulated till the Morgan affair hap- 
pened." 

"Good now; 111 go sides with ye," interrupted a 
voice behind me. u I'd a blamed sight rather be him 
than the men that will steal their own blankets and 
then turn round and prosecute him. Or the men either 
that would take his poor dog, cut its throat from ear to 
ear and drown it at low water mark. When I get 
kinder riled up about such doings I pick out a psalm of 
David and read it about Doeg the Edomite, or Gush 
the Benjaminite, or some other of them rascally chaps 
that he is always praying to be delivered from. There's 
one verse in particular 4 His mischief shall return 
upon his own head and his violent dealings upon his 
own pate,' that does me as much good to think of as it 
ever did to eat my victuals." 



278 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

And my new-found ally, who proved to my surprise 
to be the jocular man introduced to the reader on a 
previous occasion resumed his seat, and taking a jack- 
knife from his pocket proceeded to coolly pare an apple 
and cut it in even quarters, which he stowed away in 
his capacious mouth with the utmost ease. 

Physical bulk and strength is something, decry it as 
we may, for there is a certain class of men who will pay 
respect to nothing else. The jocular man stood over 
six feet in his stockings, and had chest and limbs of 
herculean breadth and power. The other looked as 
much at a disadvantage as a terrier before a big New- 
foundland dog, and did not choose, for prudent reasons, 
to turn 011 him in the same threatening, bullying fash- 
ion in which he had turned on me. So he contented 
himself with a few muttered words in reply and sneaked 
off, probably to play the same small game of detraction 
and calumny somewhere else. 

Nothing was altered at Mr. Jedediah Mill's. The 
same air of comfort and thrift; the same kitchen with 
its scoured floor, its flag-bottomed, straight-backed 
chairs and homely hospitality; the same u best room " 
with a sampler Hannah had wrought in her girlhood, 
hanging over the high, black mantle, and such books 
as Rollins' Ancient History, Watts on the Mind and 
Baxter's Saints' Rest standing in solemn rows on the 
shelves of the bookcase, yet over it all rested the shadow 
of a brooding trouble as a thundercloud overhangs a 
fair landscape. 

It Avas visible in Mrs. Mill's dejected face, in her 
husband's whitening hairs and even in the smile with 
which Hannah greeted me when I came to the door, 
for it was that pathetic kind of a smile which Old Sor- 



THE ENGAGEMENT. 279 

row and New Happiness are apt to wear before they 
have had time to make each other's acquaintance. 
Light and shadow, joy and grief ! Wisely has Provi- 
dence mingled the cup as we shall all know when we 
reach those love-illumined heights that rise beyond the 
mists of time and death; as many of us come to realize 
even here when some thorny trial blossoms into a rich 
red rose of blessing, and " Thy will be done " grows 
suddenly easy to say so easy that we wonder it was 
ever hard. 

For Hannah's parents were well suited with her 
choice, though in a worldly sense they knew she might 
have done better. They reverenced the young preacher 
with his slight frame, his burning ardor and devotion 
in his Master's cause, almost like an angelic messenger, 
and the recent assault upon him had naturally intensi- 
fied the feeling by surrounding him with not a little of 
that homage with which, reasonably or otherwise, the 
best portion of humanity are apt to regard one who has 
come very near being enrolled in the noble army o 
martyrs. 

Good Mrs. Mills, with pleasant garrulousness, told 
me the whole story of the courtship before I had been 
in the house twenty-four hours. 

u Father has been real down in the mouth since this 
trouble come onto us about our farm. You see he's a 
man that won't give up a grain to injustice. He's al- 
ways said he'd fight it out to the end if it took every 
dollar he had, for l if I give 'em an inch,' says he, 
4 they'll take an ell, and then whafc am I better off ?' 
It was two or three days after Mark was shot that 
father was sitting over the fire in one of his low spells, 
and I was trying to chirk him up a little by talking 



280 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

about the old times before we were married, and asking 
him if he remembered the first night we walked home 
from the singing school together, and how he walked 
in one rut and I in the othef because we were too bash- 
ful to lock arms; but I couldn't get a smile onto his 
face. And just then the door opened, and father, he 
kinder started up, for there was Mark and Hannah, 
looking as happy as though they had just stepped out 
of Paradise. And I lay down my knitting, for I see 
what was coming, and I wondered how father would 
take it. Hannah stepped up and put her arms around 
his neck, and give a little sob; and then father seemed 
to understand it at last. He looked from Mark to Han- 
nah, and says he, * You know I am a poor man now, 
I can't give you any setting out.' And then Mark 
spoke up, and says he, ' We only want your consent 
and blessing. Hannah's wedding portion is in herself, 
and its value is far above rubies. I have told her what 
to expect if she marries me, but she is willing to try 
it. 1 And fathei gave his consent right off and seemed 
to cheer up wonderfully^ so that I told Hannah after- 
wards, 1 1 hain't seen your father so like himself since 
he begun to have this lawsuit.' And though I do say 
it of my own daughter, Hannah will make a first-rate 
minister's wife. She is just cut out for it. She'll turn 
off work, baking or churning or spinning, and you 
wonder how she gets so much done with so little fuss; 
and then she will be all ready to go and watch with 
somebody that's sick. I tell folks she is just like her 
Aunt Eunice " 

But I forbear, remembering that the reader's interest 
will not be likely to extend as far as Aunt Eunice. 

The marriage was to take place in a few months, for 



THE ENGAGEMENT. 281 

as Mark said, neither of them wanted a long engage- 
ment. They were eager to enter upon their life work 
together. The time was short at best. Why should 
they make it any shorter by unnecessary delay? 

Of course the reader of either sex who looks upon 
matrimony as an affair largely made up of bank stocks, 
diamond rings and elaborate trousseaus will have no 
patience with such an uncalculating young couple; and 
I fear that no excuse can be made for their verdancy 
which will be accepted in such quarters. 

The fact was, Hannah Mills was not only " cut out 
to be a minister's wife," but she was cut out to be the 
helpmeet of a poor and unpopular minister, whose 
mission led him in the ways of Elijah and Ezekiel, and 
other old reformers, to the great detriment of his 
worldly prospects. And when she accepted Mark she 
simply accepted her vocation. 

Mark accompanied me home to Brownsville as the 
best way to convince Rachel that he had not been seri- 
ously hurt, for the report had reached us, as reports 
generally do, in so exaggerated a form as to rouse all 
her sisterly anxiety 

He wanted to call at the Park Tavern, however, be- 
fore he left, and Mr. Mills, having an errand in the di- 
rection of Batavia, the latter took us in his farm wagon 
as far as the outskirts of the village, where he dropped 
us and we proceeded the remaining distance on foot. 

Batavia was now in its normal condition, a busy but 
seemingly peaceful community. I was thinking of the 
very different aspect it had worn on my first visit when 
we heard a confused shout from a rabble of men and 
boys in the distance that did not sound exactly like 
" mad dog," though the cry partook somewhat of that 



282 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

character, An instant after a window opened and a 
woman called loudly to a little tow-head making mud 
pies underneath: tk Charles Henry, come into the 
house this minute, or you'll get bit.' 1 

The alarm, whatever its cause, seemed to spread with 
electric rapidity. There was a general banging of 
doors and windows, while frightened women, in all. 
stages of dishabille rushed out frantically calling in 
their children as if they were menaced by some fearful 
danger. 

" What is the matter?" we stopped to ask of one, 
the mother of the Charles Henry aforesaid for that 
young gentleman was too delightfully engaged to heed 
at once the maternal call, and was now being dragged 
unceremoniously into the house in a smsill skirmish of 
slaps and kicks. 

u Why, hain't you heard about it? It's awful. 
Twenty or thirty rattlesnakes loose right here in the 
village! You'd better take care of yourselves.*' 

And so saying she disappeared with her contuma- 
cious young scion, while Mark and I looked around us 
for some weapon of defense. For though rattlesnakes 
had ceased to be indigenous to the soil of Western New 
York, they were not infrequently killed in remote or 
newly settled places, and many an old hunter could tell 
yarns quite sufficient to make the hair rise on the most 
unbelieving how it fascinated its victim with circles 
of ever-changing light and color, mingling and melt- 
ing, melting and mingling, with a low, throbbing 
music, sweet as the song of the Syrens, till the fatal 
spell was broken at last by its fangs in his flesh and 
the creeping chill of death at his heart. 

Several men and boys ran past us to join the rapidly 



RATTLESNAKE CORNER. 283 

nearing crowd, armed with every imaginable weapon 
from hickory clubs to brickbats and fire-shovels, and 
we heard the name of Greene mingled with threats and 
execrations as if he were in some way responsible for 
the escape of the reptiles. 

;i This is only another Masonic outrage on Mr. 
Greene;" said Murk, suddenly, dropping the stout 
sappling which he was trimming. "I don't believe 
there are any rattlesnakes about. See, they've stopped 
at the Park Tavern and are pouring into his yard. 
Come, Leander; we must see this affair through. I 
know a back way that we can take so as to avoid mix- 
ing with all that rabble." 

Accordingly I followed Mark u the back way " and 
we entered the public room of the tavern just as a part 
of the mob, their search for stray rattlesnakes in Mr. 
Greene's yard and outbuildings having apparently been 
fruitless, carried the hunt into the house, loading its 
proprietor with every vile epithet. But the latter met 
them with cool self-possession. He had been under 
the fire of the lodge too often to show any surprise or 
trepidation at this new form of attack, arid there was 
even a suppressed humor lurking about his mouth as if 
he -saw a comical side to the affair. 

" Gentlemen " and I remember how his clear, full 
voice sounded above the uproar; a voice I was destined 
to hear afterwards from the platform as he told the 
story of Morgan to listening crowds, and faced mobs 
with the same calm, heroic bearing with which he now 
met the daily outrage and insults to which he was sub- 
jected " the snakes are all safe in their box. Who- 
ever said they had escaped spread a false report. I beg 
you will be content with this assurance and disperse," 



284 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

" Do you think we will take your word for it, you 
cussed, perjured villain ?" responded the foremost one, 
who seemed to be full not only of the spirit of the 
lodge but the spirit of whisky, and who as I afte'rwards 
learned had done a good deal of false swearing as a 
witness in the Morgan trials. And he brandished his 
club threateningly near to Mr. Greene's face, but the 
latter did not abate one atom of his cool, dignified 
bearing. 

" You are not obliged to take my word for it. I can 
easily send for the man who asked leave to store the 
box in my granary. He can certify that not one of the 
snakes has got loose." 

" I've seen the box myself and it is all right;" spoke 
up the bar-tender. " Do you suppose I would be such 
a precious fool as to stay here, if I knew any such var- 
mints were crawling about?" 

This argument was rather unanswerable, especially 
as another man, a lodger at the Park Tavern, added his 
own assurance to the same effect. And after a little 
more abuse of Mr. Greene the rioters for such they 
were finding their game was likely to be a losing one, 
departed. 

The court was then sitting, Batavia being a county 
town, and the explanation of this whole scene consisted 
in the fact that one of the witnesses in a forthcoming 
trial had a box of rattlesnakes with him which he was 
taking to a man in New York. 

He accordingly asked storage-room for it during the 
period of his stay at the Park Tavern. This was a 
grand opportunity for Mr. Greene's enemies of the 
lodge to spread a general panic through the village 



RATTLESNAKE CORNER. 285 

and frighten away his custom by a report that the 
snakes had broken loose. 

He greeted Mark and I with a smile as untroubled 
as if he had just been waited on by some flattering 
committee who wanted to make him their, political 
nominee; and his only reference to the scene that had 
passed was in these few quiet words as he took us into 
a small apartment adjoining the public room: 

u You have only seen one specimen of the many 
ways in which the Masons are trying to ruin my busi- 
ness here in Batavia. I presume they will accomplish 
their end. My only comfort is that God rules in 
Heaven; a God of infinite justice, who has promised to 
hear the cry of the oppressed. To him I submit my 
cause." 

Grand, simple-hearted Christian hero, thy wrongs 
were never righted on earth, but none the less sure the 
overthrow of every dark ; unrighteous system of false- 
hood for whose destruction souls under the altar, that 
have shed their blood in the cause of truth, cry contin- 
ually, " 0, Lord, how long! 11 

Readers who may desire a proof that I am relating 
fact and not fiction, know that in the goodly village of 
Batavia there is a certain locality called by the towns- 
people to this day in memory of the foregoing occur- 
rence, RATTLESNAKE CORNER. 




CHAPTER XXXI. 

NEW SCENES AND OLD PACES. 

r ET the reader imagine me a necromancer 
whose magic wand, waved lightly over 
him, has the power of putting him to 
sleep for about forty years; for though 
a great many things may happen in that 
period of time very interesting to the world 
at large, to say nothing of minor events 
equally interesting in a smaller way to the in- 
dividual, none of which would be omitted by a 
conscientious historian or a careful biographer, I am 
neither the one nor the other. I am simply telling the 
story of my experience with Freemasonry; and if, when 
nearly all the States passed laws prohibiting extra- 
judicial oaths, and the churches of Christ everywhere 
disfellowshipped adhering Masons, the institution had 
actually died down as it feigned to do I should proba- 
bly make this my concluding chapter, or, what is more 
likely, not have written any story at all, preferring 
to let the dead bury its dead in decent oblivion. 

But the wounded dragon of Masonry did not yield 
up its life so easily. At the South, under cover of the 
night-dark wing of slavery it hid in shame and dishon- 
or, to slowly recover from its grievous hurt, and finally 



NEW SCENES AND OLD FACES. 287 

creep forth again into the light not always under its 
true name while brave men and women, fighting with 
tongue and pen for the freedom of the slave never 
dreamed what chains were forging in secret, or how in 
their own free North the time would come when under 
the intimidating power of the lodge men dared not 
freely discuss its claims; when editors of religious 
journals would refuse, in their craven fear of losing 
patronage, to publish articles against it; and even the 
Christian ministers, while hating it at heart, should be 
afraid Oh, shame! actually afraid to stand up in the 
pulpit and speak God's truth concerning it. 

But in passing over such an interim of time there 
must necessarily be many scattered threads, which it 
behooves me to gather up and knit in one general 
whole before I proceed further. 

Of the scores of persons actually participating in the 
murder of Morgan or consenting thereto, only five 
were convicted. Loton Lawson was sentenced to two 
years' imprisonment. Nicholas Gr. Cheesboro to one 
and Eli Bruce, Edward Sawyer and John Whitney to 
varying terms of one month or more, and this was all 
that resulted from four years 1 trials and investigations. 

That these men were considered by their brethren of 
the lodge, not as convicted felons but as martyrs to the 
Masonic cause may be inferred from the fact that they 
remained in full fellowship therewith as members in 
good and regular standing; that they were visited daily 
while in jail by their Masonic brethren, in many cases 
accompanied by their wives and daughters; that they 
were furnished with every luxury money could pro- 
cure, and when their term was up escorted from prison 
in triumph. But 0, most benevolent Masonry, where 



288 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

were thy bowels of compassion for many an unfortun- 
ate brother confined within those very walls, not for 
kidnapping and murder, but for debt? 

Darius Fox came unexpectedly back to Brownsville 
about a year after his sudden flight nowise improved 
by his stay among the wild and reckless characters of 
the western frontier. Why he chose to run the risk 
of returning; whether he had been led to believe that 
all danger of conviction was over, or whether his course 
was dictated by mere braggadocio, is move than I can 
say. But he talked swaggeringly about having u come 
back to stand his trial," and had his small circle of ad- 
mirers, who surrounded him in store and tavern, and 
praised and cheered him as if he had done a very brave 
and plucky thing in returning. 

Perhaps he had overlooked the possibility that some 
of his associates in evil might turn State's evidence 
against him. A few days after his unexpected appear- 
ance in Brown sville^ne of the men convicted of ab- 
ducting Morgan gave testimony in regard to his own 
share in that transaction that would inevitably have 
consigned him to a felon's cell had he not been found 
dead the next morning. The cause of his sudden 
death was said to be apoplexy, though a story never 
exactly authenticated was whispered about and believed 
by many in Brownsville that he had really hung him- 
self in a moment when remorse and fear of punishment 
so acted on a mind unbalanced by drink as to drive him 
to self-destruction; and his family, to avoid the dishonor 
attaching to the name of suicide, had attempted to 
cover up the fact by ascribing his untimely end to a 
cause which was not the true one. 

But whether he met death by his own hand or in the 



KEW SOEKES AKD OLD FACES. 289 

common orderings of Providence, Darius Fox went to 
his own place, where, in the course of years, all his 
companions in crime followed him; into that dim 
eternity towards which the evil and the righteous are 
alike hastening, where the deeds done in the body are 
either angel's wmgs ever raising us higher in the scale 
of purified being, or weights sinking us deeper and 
deeper into the pit of final despair. 

For three years the proprietor of the Park Tavern 
tried to carry on his business in the face of wrongs and 
outrages that in number and petty malignity fell to 
the lot of no other Antimason of those days. Hear his 
own words on the subject: 

u My help was hired to leave me; others sent who 
after being hired would get in debt and prove unfaith- 
ful. Sham sales of stage horses would be made to un- 
principled drivers who would keep their horses at my 
house on usual contracts, and when a quarterly bill 
was presented against the ostensible owner it would be 
shoved off upon the driver, who was irresponsible and 
would abscond; or, if sued, pay the debt on the jail 
limits. Merchants with whom I had dealt would di- 
vide my accounts and sue me on each day's trade, caus- 
ing me to pay unnecessary costs." 

Nor did they stop short at personal violence, as wit- 
ness his further testimony: 

" My furniture was injured, and in my attempts to 
save it from destruction I have been choked in my own 
house till my family were alarmed lest my life should 
be taken. All this was done with the avowed inten- 
tion of tempting me to commit assault and battery, or 
seek redress by law suit that they might avail them- 
selves o the law to destroy me effectually." 



290 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

The fight was too unequal. What chance had one 
man, however just his cause, against hundreds working 
in secret conclave to accomplish his ruin? Mr, Greene 
disposed of his business in Batavia. and as a public 
lecturer did more, perhaps, than any other man to en- 
lighten the public mind on the real nature of Freema- 
sonry. 

Undaunted by opposition, undismayed by danger, 
though he once came very near sharing the fate of 
Morgan, he kept on his way. lecturing, editing, pub- 
lishing, side by side with a young man, Lloyd Garrison 
by name, who had just heard the bugle-call to another 
conflict which was destined ere long to be the one great 
absorbing issue that should swallow up all others. 

The Liberator and the Antimasonic Christian Herald 
were both published in the same building and delivered 
by the same carrier but while one waxed and grew 
the other waned before the new struggle for human 
rights. And when a terrible punishment was at last 
meted out to us; when every newspaper was like the 
prophet's scroll written throughout with mourning and 
lamentation and woe; when Rachels wept their dead 
in Northern and Southern homes alike, who saw the 
secret hands working in darkness and silence to prolong 
the contest? 

Good patriots on the Union side blushed for the 
cowardice and incompetency that stayed idly in the 
trenches for weeks and months; that led hosts of brave 
men to inglorious slaughter or disgraceful flight before 
the enemy. Could they have kiiOAvn that promotion 
did not depend on bravery or merit, but on the number 
of Masonic degrees; could they have witnessed those 
secret, midnight meetings when Northern generals fra~ 



NEW SCENES AND OLD FACES. 291 

ternized with the enemy, they would have had a better 
understanding of the whole subject. And when the 
guns of the Rebellion were silenced and the smoke 
cleared away, could they have seen delegations from 
Northern lodges on a visit to Southern cities uniting 
in brotherly union with Knights of the Golden Circle, 
these same good people would not have been so slow to 
recognize, grinning under the mask of the Ku Klux, 
the same old enemy against which Samuel D.Greene 
so faithfully warned his countrymen. 

He died on the threshold of the on-coming struggle 
a new struggle with an ancient foe, and saw not its 
end. Pursued even to the last by the unsparing hatred 
of the lodge he died as he had lived, boldly testifying 
to 1; the truth as it is in Jesus " against every " unfruit- 
ful work of darkness, 11 and now translated into that 
great " cloud of witnesses " perhaps he does see the 
end after all. 

Bright, mischievous brother Joe married early in 
life a fair acquaintance of Brownsville, who I have rea- 
son to suspect was the same he accompanied home 
from Jake Goodwin's party, and emigrated to Kansas 
in the early stages of its struggle to be a free State, 
where as a friend and associate of John Brown he par- 
ticipated in more than one stirring scene of that event- 
ful era. 

Sam Toller has long since passed from earth, but 
there is still a circle, slowly narrowing, who hold him 
in kindly remembrance. 

Luke Thatcher has represented his native State in 
the Legislature and is looked up to by his neighbors as 
an honest, far-seeing man who is always on the right 
side of every social and political question. 



292 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Mr. Jedediah Mills lost his lawsuit and his farm a 
result not hard to predict from the beginning. Anxiety 
and trouble so wore upon him that he did not live long 
after, and another name was added to that hidden roll 
of martyrs to the lodge which God keeps in his secret 
place against the day " when he maketh inquisition for 
blood." 

Mark Stedman's life has been one of constant war- 
fare with every prevailing and popular form of sin. 
When the Antimasonic excitement died away and even 
he believed that the lodge had fallen never to rise 
again, he turned his attention to the crime of American 
slavery. At a time when the mere avowal of Aboli- 
tionist principles cost more than the present genera- 
tion can readily conceive, he preached, prayed and 
worked for the emancipation of the slave. And care- 
less of fine and imprisonment, out of his own slender 
store he and his good wife Hannah sent many a fugi- 
tive rejoicing on their way towards the North Star a 
work in which Rachel and I not infrequently had the 
pleasure of helping, for both families left Brownsville 
and moved to Ohio about the same time, where we set- 
tled in easy visiting distance of each other. 

We are a staid, elderly couple now, Rachel and I, 
with a number of grandchildren to spoil, and one or 
two gro\vn r up fledglings still lingering about the home 
nest. But our little David never went forth with sling 
and stone against any of these moral Goliaths that 
from time to time hav? come out from their Philistine 
fastnesses to defy our American Israel. One bright 
summer day we laid him under the green grass in 
Brownsville cemetery, and on another summer day as 
bright, there came to our home a second little David, 



NEW SCENES AND OLD FACES. 293 

He sleeps in his nameless grave at Antietam. Still an- 
other of our boys donned the blue and marched proudly 
away to die by slow starvation in a Southern prison. 

Oh, it is not in hours of joy that hearts knit together 
the closest and strongest! From that mighty baptism 
of anguish Rachel and I came forth united in the 
grand fellowship of suffering without which love is 
like gold that lacks the test of the crucible. 

And now having brought my story down to Anno 
Domini, 1870 or thereabouts, I take it for granted that 
the reader is sufficiently interested to wait its further 
development, first promising that the end is not far off. 
For with Rachel and I the shadows are beginning to 
stretch eastward. She sits shelling beans in the porch 
which commands a view of rich Ohio cornfields basking 
In the August sun, a gray-haired, placid-browed matron. 
But the fires of youth flash s^iii from her brown eyes, 
showing that she has not materially altered from the 
quick, imperious Rachel of former days. 

If any one doubts it let him rouse her indignation 
by some act of meanness or duplicity, and if he don't 
have cause to remember that day as long as he lives I 
am very much mistaken. 




CHAPTER XXXII. 

THE MYSTEKY OF INIQUITY. 

ACHEL finished shelling her t pan of 
beans and carried them into the kitchen. 
Then in obedience to a certain thrifty 
custom nearly obsolete now but very 
common with industrious housewives of 
a former generation who did not choose to 
allow Satan even so small a vantage ground 
as a few idle moments between sundown and 
dark, she took out a half-finished sock on which 
her needles flew briskly till she had knit about six 
times around, when her inward musings took shape in 
this terse sentence: 
" I don't see into it." 

4(1 Don't see into what, mother?" I asked. For we 
had now reached that comfortable stage in our matri- 
monial journey when to address each other by the 
parental title teems the most natural thing in the world. 
" How Anson Lovejoy can be a Mason. Now I really 
like the man, and always have liked him from the very 
first. But when I find that he can take part in such 
ridiculous, blasphemous folly, and be himself actually 
Master of a lodge, initiating others into it, I well, 
really, I don't know what to think except that there is 
one more fool in the world than I had supposed." 



THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY. 295 

And Rachel knit vigorously several more rounds 
while I pondered the subject in silence. I too liked 
An son Lovejoy in spite of the fact thut he was not only 
a Mason, but held the office of Worshipful Master of 
Fidelity Lodge, located in the flourishing village of 
Granby, Ohio; said lodge numbering among its mem- 
bers one or two ministers, a saloon-keeper, one deacon, 
several notorious gamblers and a general sprinkling of 
the lowest characters in the place, all " meeting on the 
level" in felicitous union and fellowship. 

u Well, mother, 1 ' I said, finally, " a man isn't always 
a fool because he does foolish things. The fact is I've 
had a little talk with him on the subject of Masonry, 
and I have come to the conclusion that it isn't the sys- 
tem as it really is that he admires, but an ideal existing 
only in his own imagination of something it might, 
could, would or should be if it was only properly un- 
derstood, and more care exercised in admitting can- 
didates; such delightfully impossible conditions, in 
short, that I was strongly reminded of the old couplet: 

'If wishes were horses beggars would ride, 
If 'twas a sword it would hang by your s : de.' " 

" Now, father " and Rachel laid down her knitting 
in her earnestness u why don't you put it right to him 
about the oaths and obligations and ceremonies. You 
have been through them yourself and know all about 
it, so you are just the one. What if this man's soul 
should be required at your hands?" 

" I did ' put it right to him.' I told him he had 
sworn to conceal the criminal acts of brother Masons, 
to warn them of approaching danger and help them 
out of all difficulties, no matter what wrong-doing 
might be the cause. But he had one answer for every 



296 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

objection, and that was that he did not so understand 
Masonry, and only considered its obligations binding 
when they failed to conflict with any superior duty 
that he owed to God or to Government. I asked him 
if that was the way he explained them to candidates. 
He assured me it was. I told him flat that such teach- 
ing of Masonic obligations was a mistake and a con- 
tradiction; that Masonry owns no law and no authority 
outside of or superior to herself; that when she ceases 
to be a complete despotism; when she allows her mem- 
bers to put their own interpretation on the oaths and 
penalties; above all, when she elevates the Bible from 
a mere piece of lodge furniture on a level with the 
square and compass to be what the old Westminster 
divines called it l the only sufficient rule of faith and 
practice,' her power has fled. She simply cannot exist 
under such conditions." 

" And what did he say to that?" asked Rachel. 

"Well, that fellow Jervish came in just then and 
broke up our talk. I suppose he thinks me a fool and 
a fanatic. I consider him an honest, well-meaning 
man, whose chief mistake is in thinking that he can 
do what the Scriptures declare* impossible ' Bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean.' '' 

"Well, I don't understand it." repeated Rachel, de- 
cidedly. " There must be something wrong somewhere 
when a man can't see the plain truth put right before 
him." 

For Rachel was like 'most practical, matter-of-fact 
people, not subject to glamours of any sort. When 
she saw a truth she saw it clearly a sun-illumined 
mount of God piercing heaven unclouded b}~ bewilder- 
ing fogs and mists, and could not understand why any 



THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY. 297 

honest mind sliould fail to perceive it too. But I knew 
better how men like Anson Lovejoy can be made the 
apologists and defenders of a lie; how they naturally 
seek, the first disappointment over, to reconcile the 
teachings of Masonry with their own standard of human 
duty, and only succeed by an ingenious system of in- 
terpretations that, carried into practical effect, would 
annul the whole thing. My grandfather so reasoned 
till the murder of Morgan opened his eyes. But a man 
like Anson Lovejoy, who- belonged to a generation that 
knew not Morgan must another tragedy as fearful 
shock the public mind and rouse in even the dullest 
that indignation so terrible because it is a dim shadow 
of the divine wrath against evil doers, before he could 
be made to see? 

This question I silently asked myself while Rachel 
rolled up her knitting and called to Grace, our youngest, 
to light a lamp. 

" Yes, Mother," answered Grace, and rose promptly 
from her seat on the back steps, where she was giving 
his first lesson in astronomy to a favorite nephew named 
Joe, of whom I can only say that he had already begun 
to develop a talent for mischief that bade fair in time 
to cast all the ^youthful exploits of the original Joe 
quite into the shade. At the same moment the gate 
swung open and admitted a female figure with a tin 
pail. 

u Mother, there is Mary Lyman come to borrow some' 
yeast. 1 ' 

"Well, Grace, you can get it for her." And Rachel 
drew up her chair within the circle of the light and 
took her sewing, while she invited the new-comer with 
a kindly smile to sit down. 



298 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

She was a girl of not more than seventeen hardly 
that. Her large blue eyes, regular features and heavy 
braids of tawny gold hair made her face one of singular 
beauty. But there was a sad, depressed look about her 
mouth, and a lack of youthful elasticity in her motions 
that made her seem older than she really was. 

She took her pail of yeast and departed with a mur- 
mured word of thanks. Rachel sewed very fast for 
several minutes till she snapped her thread. Then she 
broke out 

" I say, it is a shame.' 1 

" What now, mother?" 

" To keep that girl as they do. I know how it is 
just as well as if I saw it; drudge, drudge from morn- 
ing till night. Not a minute in the twenty-four hours 
she can call her own. No chance for improvement 
but plenty of chances for everything else. It is too 
bad, poor orphan child!" added Rachel, who had all 
the large-hearted instincts of true motherhood, and its 
capabilities of indignation also. 

u Well, I know it is too bad; but she'll be free in a 
year or so. That's one comfort/' 

11 1 wish her time was out now," responded Rachel. 
" Grace can't keep school and help me much. And I 
believe if I could have the training of Mary for a while 
I might make something of her yet." 

"What! at eighteen?" I asked, with natural in- 
credulity. 

"Yes, at eighteen," answered Rachel, biting her 
thread with an air of decision. " It is a mistake to 
think the die for good or evil must be cast at a partic- 
ular age. It all depends on circumstances. Now this 
girl makes me think of some tiger-lilies I remember 



THE MYSTERY OF IKIQITITY. 

grew behind the barn when I was a child. J don't 
know how they ever came there, in that sunless corner, 
but there they were, growing and blossoming in about 
, the same fashion that she is ripening into womanhood. 
All she wants is a chance-4o develop herself. If I 
could give her that I should feel that I had, done one 
good work in the world before I leave it." 

u Why, mother; your life has been nothing but giv- 

Eing and doing for forty years." 
" Well, I don't know about that, father," answered 
Rachel, with a little shake of her head. But I could 
see that her husband's praise was very sweet to her, 
nevertheless. 

The girl of whom we had been speaking was, as 
Rachel said, an orphan whom fate, personified by the 
selectmen of Granby, had delivered over to be the vic- 
tim of a species of white slavery in the family of a 
Mr. Simon Peck. To scrub floors, feed the hogs, fetch 
the water and lug a heavy baby about when there was 
nothing else for her to do, was the routine of her daily 
life varied by such small tyrannies and exactions from 
the younger Pecks as the ingenuity of their o.wn minds 
or the example of their elders might suggest. 

It was not strange that all Rachel's womanly feel- 
ings had been roused in behalf of the girl. A nat- 
ural refinement had kept her from assimilating with 
her rough and coarse surroundings, and she was now 
growing up to a dower of singular beauty. Who 
should say whether it would prove a blessing or a 
curse? , 

Rachel sewed away in silence for a few moments and 
when she again spoke it was to recur to our former 
subject of talk. 



300 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

u Well, I don't see, as I said before, how such men as 
Anson Lovejoy can defend Masonry, but I think I un- 
derstand the reason why I don't understand it." 

"What do you mean, mother?" 

" Why, it is the ' mystery of iniquity.' We talk 
about 'the mystery of godliness' that cannot be known 
except by Christians, but we forget there is something 
corresponding to it on the other side. There are 
depths of Satanic craft just as there are depths of Re- 
deeming Wisdom. We can't understand either. They 
are beyond us. It is the l deceivableness of unrighteous- 
ness,' k the strong delusion.' Mystery; that is just 
what it is, the mystery of iniquity." 

And Rachel resumed the work whirh she had let fall 
in her earnestness, while I pondered over her words, 
a.nd concluded that she was about right. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

AUGEAK STABLES. 




Lodge met in the upper story 
of a brick building near the center of 
the village, agreeably to the practice of 
their ancient brethren who assembled on 
high places to worship Baal, as stand- 
$& ard Masonic authorities confirmed by all 
the Bible commentaries and encyclopedias, 
unite to inform us. It numbered sixty or 
seventy members and to outward appearances 
was in a prosperous condition. But an examination of 
the secretary's books would have revealed a tale of dis- 
ordered finances only equalled by the petty bickerings 
and out-and-out quarrels that at every meeting of the 
lodge vexed the soul of the Worshipful Master, who 
strove heroically to infuse his own high Masonic ideal 
into the worthy brethren, but never succeeded in quite 
satisfying himself or anybody else. 

It is a melancholy fact that " the good men in the 
lodge' 5 of whom we hear so much are a practical 
nonentity beside a few unscrupulous members. Good- 
ness is modest and apt to shrink into the background, 
but wickedness is a^rrrp^ive and outspoken. An son 
Lovejoy, though he held the highest office in the lodge, 



302 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

did not wield in reality a tenth part of the influence 
exercised by another member who held no office at all. 

This was Mr. Jervish, to whom the reader will re- 
member that I made a rather disparaging allusion in 
my talk with Rachel recorded in the last chapter. I 
disliked the man without knowing anything very posi- 
tive about him beyond what the tongue of rumor as- 
serted that he was a free-thinker in religion and a 
libertine in morals. But it must not. be supposed that 
these two trifling circumstances affected in the least his 
good and regular standing in the lodge, or moved any 
one of the reverend gentlemen belonging thereto to 
protest for the honor of their sacred office against such 
companionship. 

It was commanded of old that even the burden- 
bearers of the temple should be clean from all defile- 
ment. Shall they who are separated to a far higher 
service fraternize in unholy union with men who habit- 
ually violate God's code of moral purity, and think to 
stand with unspotted garments in ihe pulpit? Can 
their prayers, their sermons, their breaking of bread in 
the Holy Supper, be anything but an abomination and 
a loathing in his sight? 0, Church of the living God, 
how long will you allow such foolish pastors to lay 
waste your fair heritage? 0, Bride of Christ, how long 
shall your honor be turned to shame by their praises of 
your harlot rival? 

Mark or, to speak more correctly, Elder Stedmah. 
had lost none of his old hatred to the lodge. He had 
only relaxed his warfare on the system when he believed 
that it was down never to rise again from its mortal 
hurt. And now the fall of slavery had made a silence 
in which the approaching footsteps of the next great 



AUGEAN STABLES. - 303 

issue were plainly perceptible to u the hearing ear," 
which Elder Stedman believed ought to be more char- 
acteristic of the ministry than any other class of men 
an opinion largely based on the Bible account of the 
old prophets, who certainly took a lively interest in the 
great moral questions of their day. But a good many 
people did not share this idea, and when Mark began 
to level his arrows at Masonry there was the usual 
number of undiscerning good men outside of the lodge 
u who thought ministers ought to preach the gospel 
and let other subjects alone. But the Elder had never 
been in the habit of reading his marching orders back- 
ward. He hadn't the slightest notion that the com- 
mand, u Cry aloud and spare not," really meant, " Be 
silent on all popular sins and spare the feelings of sin- 
ners as much as possible." And so he preached on, as 
serenely careless of any disturbance produced by his 
words as the sun is of all the agitated runnings to and 
fro in some colony of discomforted beetles suddenly 
exposed to the light. 

Masonry was strong in Granby, and under its shadow 
flourished Odd-fellowship, and all the kindred secret 
orders that like mushrooms sprang up in the night of 
the war to cover the land with their rank, foul growth, 
It was strong enough to make men who hated the sys- 
tem from the bottom of their hearts shrink from dis- 
cussing it with that strange fear that only the lodge is 
capable of inspiring to strike the whole community 
with a kind of moral paralysis, an unaccountable apathy 
that is like a death chill at the heart of all free 
thought. 

"What can the church be thinking of not to wake 
up to her duty in this matter of Masonry?'' said Mark 



304 HOLDE.N WITH CORDS. 

to me one day when he and Hannah had rode over for 
an hour's cozy chat and a cup of tea together. Above 
all, what is the ministry thinking of not to see that 
fellowship with the lodge is spiritual adultery? the 
very same sin for which God visited the Jewish church 
with such terrible judgments. There is a blindness on 
this subject that is perfectly inscrutable. In many 
places the churches are so completely dominated and 
controlled by this foul spirit of secrecy that they are 
like a hive of bees riddled through and through with 
moths. There is no spiritual life left in them.' 1 

" Well, the fact is, we reformers made a terrible 
blunder in the old Morgan days, and now our children 
and children's children must pay for it by fighting the 
battle all over again. We took it for granted that the 
lodge was dead and dropped all talking and writing on 
the subject. Meanwhile Masonry was striking hands 
with the slave power south of Mason and Dixon's line, 
and hatching up Odd-fellowship and Good Teniplarism 
and a host of other secret orders to keep the way open 
for its ultimate return to power. Now it is back in its 
old place with at least a hundred avenues for mischief 
where it had one before." 

u But weVe got the old weapons to fight it with," 
returned Mark. " Thank God for that." 

Rachel and Hannah had been indulging in some low- 
toned domestic confidences. Their attention was now 
attracted to the conversation and the latter remarked: 

u I wonder that so many women, and some of them 
sisters in the church too, can stand in an apologetic 
attitude towards the lodge when they know it excludes 
and treats with contempt the whole female sex." 

** Well, I had an experience on that point," answered 



AUGEAK STABLES. 305 

Rachel, " at our last sewing meeting, Colonel Mont- 
fort's wife, Maria Perkins that was you remember her 
Hannah was telling about a Masonic grand ball that 
she attended some where, given in honor of the mem- 
bers' wives; and she stirred me up after a while to ask 
her how much of their charity fund she supposed went 
toward the supper and the music, and all the other fol- 
de-rols. I might as well have talked to a butterfly. 
There are always enough foolish women with about as 
much brain as you could get into a thimble, that don't 
care two straws for the moral side of the question. All 
they want is flattery and admiration and a good time, 
and the lodge has found out that a little judicious ex- 
penditure of money in that direction pays even if Ma- 
sonic widows and orphans don't get one per cent, divi- 
dend." 

" And yet," answered the Elder's wife, thoughtfully, 
" I believe that one Christian woman who through ig- 
norance, or timidity, or the feeling that it is a subject- 
in which she is not personally concerned, gives the lodge 
as much as her silent support,strengthens it more than 
a dozen of the frivolous, pleasure-seeking class. How 
many times I have heard the remark from good, pray- 
ing sisters, ' 0, I don't xknow anything about Masonry 
and I don't care to know anything about it.' They 
owe all their social elevation to Christ, but when a sys- 
tem of rites and ceremonies that sets him and his aton- 
ingwork at nought rises up in our land they talk as 
though they actually prided themselves on their in- 
difference to the whole thing." 

" I can truly say that the sorest wounds I ever re- 
ceived in this warfare have been in th'e house of my 
friends," said Mark. Many a time I have had to meet 



306 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

coldness and scorn from professing Christians for break- 
ing my lodge oaths. They pretend to think it wicked 
to take such obligations, yet with admirable consistency 
would keep a man bound in Satan's cable-tow forever, 
rather than praise the power of God in setting him 
free." 

"' I suppose Colonel Montfort is a member of the 
lodge here?" inquired Hannah. " 1 think I remember 
hearing that his war record wasn't very good tarnished 
by charges of dishonest use of government money or 
something of the kind." 

" That is not a Masonic sin," I answer.ed. " He only 
cheated poor soldiers. Colonel Montfort has plenty of 
4 worthy brothers ' in the lodge guilty of equal or great- 
er transgressions that ought to send them to State's 
prison, and would if the laws were enforced as they 
ought to be. But these men understand the require- 
ments of Masonry better than the Master of the lodge 
Anson Lovejoy, who is the most honest Mason I ever 
knew, next to my grandfather. In spite of the fact 
that I am a renegade and perjured and altogether a 
reprobate, Masonically considered, he has unbosomed 
his perplexities to me pretty freely at one time and 
another. And I really pity the man. He don't rule: 
he fills the chair, but these men, especially Montfort 
and Jervish, are the real Masters of the lodge. I'll tell 
you one thing just for illustration. He was initiating 
a candidate who hesitated at a certain part of the oath 
and so he proceeded to satisfy his perplexed conscience 
by explaining that it only obliged him to help a brother 
in misfortune but not by any means to shield him in 
crime. Montfort and Jervish took exceptions to what 
he said in open lodge a thing that, Masonically speak- 



AUGEAN STABLES. 307 

ing, they had no business to do, for according to all the 
statutes of Masonry the Master's word shall be law in 
the lodge. And ever since that affair happened his 
position has been anything but agreeable. He consid- 
ers them as dangerous men and they dispute and defy 
his authority at every turn.' 1 

" I wonder he don't resign," said Mark. 

" He has wanted to, but the difficulty of uniting 
under anybody else makes them unwilling to accept 
his resignation; and the perplexity of choosing a new 
Master of the lodge might tend under present circum- 
stances to divide or break it up altogether. You see 
he has a splendid theory of Masonry, and like m6st 
theorists he is willing to sacrifice considerable for it. 
He is naturally high-spirited but he pockets all theso 
affronts and indignities in the hope that he may finally 
work such a moral revolution in the lodge that un- 
worthy members will be no longer admitted, and the 
institution become what he claims it should be simply 
a moral and benevolent one. 1 ' 

a l understand, 1 ' said Mark, with a slight smile. 
t; Hercules and the Augean stables over again. But 
Hercules had to stand outside when he let on the puri- 
fying stream, otherwise he would have stood an ex- 
cellent chance to get smothered. 1 ' 




CHAPTER XXXIV. 

ONE MORE UNFORTUNATE. 

R. SIMON PECK'S establishment con- 
sisted of a small grocery store with two 
or three untidy rooms in the rear, where 
every article in the canon of a good 
housewife was persistently set at nought. 
Mrs. Simon Peck was a woman with thin 
yellow hair done up in perpetual curl papers 
and a general appearance suggestive of washed- 
out calico. Of the younger Pecks the less said 
the better. They were all that might be expected, 
however, considering their parentage and training. 

This man belonged to Fidelity Lodge, and low as Avas 
his social standing compared with Colonel Montfort 
and others of its leading members, he held a very im- 
portant office therein which was that of general toady 
as well as a most convenient cat's-paw for any species of 
dirty work with which the Colonel did not care to soil 
his aristocratic fingers. This satellitic intimacy with 
the great men of the lodge had caused Mr. Peck to ad- 
vance considerably in his own good opinion, for with 
the usual obtuseness of toadies he never seemed to sus- 
pect the real grounds on which it was based, and set on 
by the powerful clique before mentioYiPcl he contrived 



ONE MORE UNFORTUNATE. 

in a variety of ways none of which were very agree- 
able to a sensitive and finely-strung spirit to throw 
contempt on the authority of the Master of the lodge 
by sly, underhand methods of attack, much more an- 
noying than open warfare. 

" But were there no good men in Fidelity Lodge? 1 ' 
inquires the reader. Assuredly there were, but of 
these many had fallen into that habit of non-attendance 
which certainly has illustrious prestige in George 
Washington's example, not to mention later \yorthies 
to whom the lodge proudly points as u distinguished 
Masons," while those who remained wielded no influ- 
ence worth speaking of. Thus it will be seen that 
Anson Lovejoy in his attempts to mold the lodge after 
his own high Masonic standard was not a whit better 
off than if he had stood entirely alone. 

It was not often that I patronized Mr. Peck's counter, 
but one morning I was in a hurry and stepped in there 
for some article indispensable to the kitchen economy 
which had been overlooked in making out the usual 
household list of necessaries. 

Mary, who sometimes waited on customers, went be- 
hind the counter and weighed out the pound of bread 
soda for which I called. 1 could not help noting as 
she did so her expression of silent misery and dejection. 
My heart ached for her. Is it possible, I thought, that 
in the loving providence of the All-wise Father some 
lives must ever remain like the unsunned tiger lilies to 
which Rachel in one of those gleams of poetic senti- 
ment that we so often see flash across the most com- 
mon-sense and practical nature, had likened her? "But 
all I could do was to drop a pleasant word as she handed 
me the brown paper parcel, little thinking that when I 



310 HOLDEN WITH COEDS. 

saw that face again the great Eternal Mystery would 
have set on every feature its awful seal of silence and 
separation never to be broken by human blame or pity. 

I laid the package down on the kitchen table where 
Rachel stoad rolling out pies and superintending the 
oven from which several comely brown loaves had just 
emerged. 

' 1 wonder if that Mary Lyman isn't in some kind of 
trouble," I said. " Her face really haunts me, she 
looked -so wretched. Of course I couldn't say anything 
to her, but a real good, motherly woman like you might 
find out what the matter is and perhaps help her." 

Rachel filled a pie thoughtfully and ornamented the 
edges with elaborate care. I felt that there was some- 
thing behind her silence and waited patiently till the 
revelation should come. She put her pie in the oven 
and proceeded to roll out another before she spoke, and 
then it was to make an inquiry not apparently connect- 
ed with the subject. 

" I have heard you speak once or twice of a certain 
Mr. Jervish, a friend of Colonel Montfort's. What do 
you know about him in particular?" 

" Well, nothing in particular, but in general I should 
call him an unmitigated son of Belial. However, he 
has got policy enough to keep his vices pretty well 
under the surface, and so he gets admitted freely into 
good society, as such men usually do, and no questions 
asked. Why?" 

" It may not be true what I have heard, what I sus- 
pect, but if it is" and Rachel stood erect with firm- 
set lips and flashing eyes " if it is, I don't want any 
other proof that the Bible doctrine of everlasting pun- 
ishment is the right one," 



MOEB UNFOitTUKATE. 311 

For a moment I felt stunned. Pity, shame, abhor- 
rence of the wretch who had wrought such sacrilegious 
ruin of one of God's fairest human temples struggled 
together in contending tides of feeling. They who 
think it strange that in the Apocalypse the Hallelujahs 
of God's saints are represented as rising joyous and 
triumphant in' sight of the smoke of eternal burnings 
have surely never felt as I did at that moment glad 
from my very soul that there is such an awful place of 
retribution where the punishment which society fails 
to mete out for crimes like this shall at last be visited 
upon the evil doer. 

" As she doesn't happen to be a Mason's wife or 
daughter," said Rachel, bitterly, u her destroyer will go 
scot free as far as the lodge is concerned. Ministers of 
the gospel will call him l brother ' all the same, and 
when he dies they'll drop their sprig of evergreen into 
the grave and make a prayer to the Supreme Architect 
of the Universe, and he'll be all right for the Grand 
Lodge above. I tell you I'm sick at heart when I think 
of it. 1 ' 

And Rachel scraped up her dough and put it back in 
the pan for a Saturday pie, and the clock ticked away 
in the corner and the sunshine stole in with a fresh 
breeze to bea it company; and everything went on 
precisely the same as if the world had no such awful 
abyss of sin and sorrow as that which had now opened 
before us. 

u But this poor, fatherless, motherless girl," I said at 
last. " Can't we do anything to help her? We believe 
in Christ's way of treating the fallen and not in socie- 
ty's way. Let us show our faith by our deeds." 

u Well, father," said Rachel, with a softened voice, 



312 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

u I'm sure I'm willing to try, I've been thinking it 
over. I don't just see my way clear yet, but I shall, of 
course; I always do." 

Which was no unfounded boast. Rachel's " think- 
ing," as with most persons of her positive tempera- 
ment, usually resulted in very energetic action. For 
just as soon as the pies and cakes were out of the oven 
and cooling on the pantry table she put on her ^bonnet 
and stepped across to the Peck's back yard, where a 
kitchen garden flourished as well as it could under ad- 
verse circumstances. Here among trailing vines of 
cucumbers and tomato and summer squash, Mary was 
picking vegetables for dinner, and shielded from sight 
of the house by a long row of bean-poles. Rachel went 
and knelt down by the side of the surprised girl, and 
without the slightest circumlocution inquired gently 
but firmly 

" Mary, I want to know if this story I have heard 
about you is true? If you say l No,' I shall believe 
you and rejoice. But tell me the truth/' 

Now if Rachel had not been kind in days before if 
she had not manifested by word and look that she felt 
a true womanly interest in the bound girl who lived at 
the Peck's she never could have taken this poor erring 
human heart by storm as she did. 

Mary looked up quickly, colored and burst into tears. 

" Mrs. Severns," she said, wildly, " I am going to 
drown myself. I thought it all over last night, but I 
couldn't make up my mind. There is no place in the 
world for me there never was and it is the best 
thing I can do." 

Rachel quietly took the two hands down from the 
averted face and held them fast in her own cool grasp. 



(XN"E MORE UNFORTUNATE. 313 

44 Don't talk that way, Mary. God has raised you up 
two friends in Mr. Severns and I. We are going to do 
all we can for you. Don't add sin to sin by destroying 
yourself, and remember, another life with your's." 

"What is the use of your talking to me?" said the 
girl, turning in a kind of fierce despair. u Why don't 
you let me alone?" 

" Because I have no right to let you alone, and be- 
cause there is hope for you yet. Satan may tell you 
there is none, but don't hearken to his lie. There is a 
place for repentance at the feet of Him who said to a 
sinner of old time who had fallen lower than you, ' Go, 
and sin no more."' 

So Rachel talked, strong, brave, Christ-like words, 
till Mary ceased weeping, and it seemed as though a 
faint, pale rainbow of real hope had begun to span the 
gulf of her shame and despair. And then Rachel, 
rising up from her lowly position behind the bean- 
poles went home feeling as I think one of God's an- 
gels must returning from some errand of celestial pity 
to a sinning soul of this lower world. 

" Father," she said, after dinner, " I have been think- 
ing of Aunt Faith. That would be just the place for 
Mary if J can get her taken in there, and I feel sure I 
can, so if yuu will just have the wagon harnessed up 
I'll go right over and see her this very afternoon." 

Now Aunt Faith was an elderly Quakeress, a kind of 
uncommissioned Sister of Mercy who knew nothing of 
training schools or any of the organized systems of 
charity, but worked independently of all these on a 
system of her own, which, upon critical examination, 
might be found to be quite as near the New Testament 
pattern; ahd here, as Rachel said, was exactly the 



314: HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

refuge the poor girl needed; rest from the strife of 
tongues, shelter for the present and counsel for the 
future; and more than all else, a living daily manifesta- 
tion of the great pitiful Christ Heart, breathing in 
every movement of Aunt Faith's motherly person, 
every fold of her Quaker gray dress that partook as 
little of this world's fashions as if it had been a kind 
of spiritual emanation, like the mantle of meekness 
and charity made visible to mortal eyes iu tangible 
form and material. 

" Don't thee worry, friend Rachel," she said. " The 
poor soul shall have all needed care. Nor do I want 
thy thanks. It is for the dear Lord's sake I do it, as 
thee very well knows/' 

Rachel had one more task before her, and that was 
to acquaint Mary with what had been done, and arrange 
for her speedy departure from the Peck household. 
Though not remiss in neighborly offices she had never 
cared to be on visiting terms with Mrs. Peck, and 
shrank from what she foresaw would be likely to prove 
a disagreeable interview. It was late when we reached 
home, but early next morning Rachel went over, feel- 
ing that the sooner the business was accomplished the 
better. 

She saw nothing of Mary. Mrs. Peck, with profuse 
welcomes and many apologies neither of which Rachel 
heeded took her into the dirty, disordered sitting- 
room. She looked disturbed, but perhaps it was only 
the perturbation caused by Rachel's unexpected visit. 

"I came to have some talk with you about your girl 
Mary," said the Litter. u I don't see her about; where 
is she?" 

" She's gone off. I hain't seen her since last night.' 7 



ONE MORE UNFORTUNATE. 315 

" Gone off ! Where to?" asked Rachel, startled with 
a horrible fear as she remembered Mary's wild words 
the day before. 

" That's more than I know, where to. Bat she'll 
never come back here, the baggage," answered Mrs. 
Peck, flushing with virtuous indignation. /u After dis- 
gracing herself and all the rest of us as she has I don't 
want her in my family again. 

Now if Rachel had not been so strongly possessed 
with the idea that Mary had destroyed herself she 
might have suspected that Mrs. Peck lied in thus deny- 
ing all knowledge of her whereabouts. 'As it was, the 
shock with which she first heard the news gave place 
to a sudden revulsion of feeling. She felt a real 
antipathy to the woman, and before leaving the house 
she emptied several vials of very righteous wrath on 
the head of Mrs. Peck, who she rightfully averred had 
taken Mary to be a mere household drudge, had taught 
her nothing, and was therefore responsible in no small 
degree for her lapse from virtue. 

Mrs. Peck was angry at first, then took the other 
tack so common with women of her shallow tempera- 
ment, and cried. But Rachel, sublimely indifferent to 
both tears and anger, rose up and went her way sick of 
soul as she saw all her well-laid plans thus suddenly 
brought to nought. 

Why, why must it be that the good angels are so 
often thwarted in their blessed ministry by the Satanic 
wiles of some opposing spirit of evil? Why must the 
craft and guile of the old Serpent be allowed to drag 
back to destruction a soul that was almost saved? 

Several days passed during which we heard nothing 
of the unfortunate girl, but the fact that a closely- 



316 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

covered carriage had been seen to stop at the Peck's 
the night she was missing, and then drive rapidly off' 
in the dusk was a coincidence remembered by one or 
two people when the subject began to be inquired into. 
And it was believed that she had gone off of her own 
voluntary will. But where? and with whom? Ques- 
tions which it is reserved for the next chapter to 
answer. 






CHAPTER XXXV. 

MASONRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. VOX POPULI, VOX 

DEI. 

NE night about a week after these events 
j there was a meeting of two men at a 
cross road a little way out of the village; 
which meeting was evidently not acci- 
dental, for one of the two had been pac- 
ing restlessly back and forth for some time 
in a state of mingled agitation and expec- 
tancy, and now greeted the other with only 
'* these three abruptly spoken words: 
"She is dead!" 

His companion started and a quick change passed 
over his face. To a man accustomed to taking a good 
position in society and being flattered and smiled on 
accordingly, the vision of possible arrest at the hands 
of the law could hardly be an agreeable subject of con- 
templation; but there is an old saying which tells us to 
give even the Prince of Darkness his due, and I am will- 
ing to believe that Maurice Jervish felt for one instant 
a real pang of remorse though only a passing senti- 
ment, quickly overpowered by selfish considerations for 
his own safety. 




HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

" This is a horrible business/' he finally answered. 
u There will be a tremendous fuss made I suppose when 
the affair comes to be looked into." 

" I shall have to lay low till it blows over," returned 
the other. u So now, Jervish, you must let me have a 
hundred dollars; I can't go without it; my affairs are 
in a devil of a fix." 

" Haven't got more than fifty by me." 

"Then borrow the other fifty, can't you?" said his 
companion, impatiently. " I must clear out of .here to- 
night or it is a jail matter." 

"You forget that this confounded ugly business is 
likely to get me into a tight box as well as you," said 
Jervish, uneasily. " But I'm willing to do the best I 
can. There's a private room in my office. Come down 
there with me and we'll talk the matter over." 

" I know you are thinking of your own skin, but I've 
got some regard for mine,'' answered the other, with 
cool contempt. " And I want you to understand that 
the sooner I'm off and out of the reach of pursuit the 
better for you. I might prove a very inconvenient 
witness before the coroner's jury. 

"Oh, come," said Jervish, alarmed at the threat. 
" What is the use of talking like that. I'll get the 
money of Montfort or some other member of the lodge. 
They won't get wind of the affair before to-morrow 
morning, and that will give you plenty of time for a 
fair start." 

" I've got the night before me, and, luckily, a good 
fast horse," returned the other, after a moment's re- 
flection. " Perhaps I had better go down to the office, 
and yon can bring me the money there. Only be 
quick about it." 



MASOKRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. 319 

Jervish handed him the key of his office in silence 
and the two separated. 

While this conversation was going on, in a house 
that stood a little way back from the road and not far 
from their place of meeting lay all that was mortal of 
Mary Ionian. The seal of the death angel was on 
those fast-closed lids, and the lines of weariness and 
pain left by the last struggle made the beautiful face 
look even sadder than in life, as, framed in its rippling 
abundance of tawny gold hair, it looked up while and 
silent, bearing mute but awful witness that a deed of 
murder had been done. 

Meanwhile Maurice Jervish, in no enviable frame of 
mind, was directing his steps toward the hov;se of 
Colonel Montfort. It was decidedly the largest and 
most pretentious in the village, for the Colonel was a 
man of considerable property, gained not so much in 
lawful business as by certain shady transactions already 
referred to. Ringing the bell he was soon admitted 
into a room styled the library, though the Colonel was 
not a man of scholarly tastes, and spent more time 
smoking than in reading anything older than the 
morning newspaper and proceeded at once to state 
his business, with which the reader is already familiar. 

" The deuce! This is going a little too far, Jewish. 
Of course the lodge will do its best to bring you off all 
right, but the truth is we have got about enough to 
shoulder already. A good many here in Granby are all 
ripe for an Antimasonic excitement, and a less affair 
than this would be quite sufficient to kindle one. That 
infernal seceder, Severns, is capable of turning the 
whole neighborhood upside down, to say nothing of the 
Methodist parson, his brother-in-law," And with an 

~*f\v 



20 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

amiable wish that he might see us both consigned to 
regions unmentionable for I must stop to remark that 
the Colonel was a man of decidedly profane habits of 
speech, which is nothing "very surprising considering 
the fact that at one time and another he had taken a 
matter of several hundred oaths, each one far surpass- 
ing in studied insult to Jehovah's name the profanity 
of an ignorant Irish drayman he took out his pocket- 
book with a rather disturbed air and proceeded to count 
out some bills which he handed to Jervish. 

The latter clutched the money eagerly. He had in 
truth been rather impatient of the preceding lecture 
and cared little for the possible u Antimasonic excite- 
ment" so vividly present to the Colonel's imagination, 
in the narrower and more personal subject of alarm 
which now absorbed his thoughts. 

The Colonel, left alone, lit a cigar and puffed away 
uneasily. What was it to him this foul murder of an 
unprotected orphan girl? He Avas sorry the affair had 
happened. It was really unfortunate. But with all 
his Masonic degrees of knighthood did a single thrill 
of indignation at this double outrage on the weak and 
defenceless, attest to one faint spark lingering within 
him of the true knightly spirit of old? Did this 
" Prince of Mercy," who had dared to take at the same 
profane shrine one of the divinest titles of the crucified 
Redeemer a title the most precious to the heart of his 
church on earth, and his brightest crown of glory 
among the shining ranks of heaven feel even a throb 
of pure human regret or sorrow for the young life 
whose lamp had gone out forever in such starless 
gloom ? 

I trow not. He finished his cigar, sat down and 



MASONRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. 321 

wrote a few hurried lines, addressed to the village 
sheriff, also a member of Fidelity Lodge, and having 
sealed the note, transmitted it by a trusty messenger. 
He had learned by certain former experiences that it is 
not impossible to make an affair even more k> unfortun- 
ate" than this redound to the glory of the lodge by a 
skillful use of those secret tactics which such men 
know so thoroughly. 

Among the many profane boasts by which Masonry 
and its kindred order, Odd-fellowship, seeks to " exalt 
itself above all that is called God or that is worshiped,'' 
we hear it sometimes said, " the members of secret 
lodges hang together better tlfan the church." Now 
this matter in the light of the above scene, is certainly 
worth inquiring into. It is a deplorable fact that a 
band of thieves and murderers will sometimes " hang- 
together " when a party of philanthropists will split 
asunder over some miserable shibboleth; but the reason 
for this is not hard to seek. Selfishness is a strong 
cement of union, and is it strange that with our im- 
perfect human race it is often stronger than the bond 
of the most disinterested love? Besides, it must be 
remembered that a band of philanthropists do not need 
to u hang together " for the purpose of shielding each 
other's crime* for this is really all the argument 
amounts to, though like other pieces of lodge sophistry 
it palms itself off on many an honest but unreflecting 
mind for the truth. But how long, oh ye Christian 
pastors, will you let "the simple perish for lack of un- 
derstanding?" How long shall these false teachers 
''bring in damnable heresies, 1 ' and you, Gallio-like, 
" care for none of these things?" 

The night wore away. Like a queen in gold of 



322 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

Ophir, all her garments smelling of myrrh and aloes 
and cassia, rose the fair regal morning without a cloud 
on its glory; and the light of day fell at last on the 
white, up- turned face, and slowly the village of Gran by. 
woke to the fact that murder had been done. 

A coroner's jury was speedily impanneled and a post 
mortem examination left no doubt of the cause of Mary 
Lyman's death. The sudden flight of the physician at 
whose house she died pointed him out conclusively as 
the guilty tool, and a warrant was at once issued for 
his apprehension. 

A number of men started in pursuit, the majority 
being good and honest citizens who owned allegiance 
to no power but their lawful government, and to this 
circumstance, quite as much as the delay caused by an 
accident to k * the good fast horse " on which he had re- 
lied for safety, was due the fact that the doctor was 
overtaken and brought back to Granby. 

His witness before the jury cleared up all remaining 
mystery about the case. Perhaps he thought it would 
be better for himself if he made a clean breast of the 
whole affair seeing that the evidence of his guilt was 
too overwhelming to be denied, and the result of his 
testimony was .most damaging proof against Jervish, 
who still stayed about town, knowing that his flight at 
this particular juncture would only point suspicion 
towards him as the real author of Mary Lyman's death. 

The proceedings were ex-parte the jury's business 
being simply to obtain evidence against the guilty 
parties. While we were in session for, reader, I was 
on that jury and knoV whereof I affirm at precisely 
the point when this new witness, whose name was Dr. 
Forsyth, though the name is immaterial as he has no 



MASONRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. 323 

after connection with my story, was about to give his 
testimony, we were joined by lawyer Burroughs, a 
practicing attorney of the village and a member of 
Fidelity Lodge, who apparently dropped in for no other 
purpose than to kindly aid, with his legal knowledge 
the examinations of the jury. He was a man whose 
words were softer than oil and smoother than butter, 
though at need they could be sharper than drawn 
swords. A thrill of suspicion shot through me when 
lie entered, but it seemed like a breach of charity to 
think him actuated by any other motive than the sim- 
ple desire to serve justice, so intently did he listen to 
the testimony, so earnest did he appear to have all the 
facts elicited which had a bearing on the case.- But 
when the closing of the prisoner's testimony left us 
nothing to do but to draw up a formal warrant for the 
arrest of Maurice Jervish, the before-mentioned at- 
torney looked at his watch and quietly remarked: 

u I need not stay longer now the witness is all in. I 
see it goes hopelessly against my client, but as I am 
counsel for Mr. Jervish I felt bound to stop and see it 
through." And so saying he left the room, unmindful 
of thewndignant surprise which was visible on every 
face, unless I except the only Masonic member of the 
jury who sat in a corner busily trimming his nails, from 
which engrossing occupation he did not take the trouble 
to lift his head as the door closed behind the retreating- 
attorney. 

But another surprise awaited us. The coroner had 
just penned the warrant, and it only waited our signa- 
tures, when information was brought to the jury-room 
th nt Jervish had fled, having learned no doubt through 
the Masonic lawyer of Forsyth's arrest and his own 



324 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

danger. Theu, and not till then, did we realize in 
what an impudent and shameless fashion the jury had 
been sold. 

" Just like Burroughs to serve us such a trick, the 
mean, sneaking rascal !" broke out one of the jurors, 
ordinarily a quiet man, but just now roused to a per- 
fect white heat of indignant wrath over this example 
of Masonic double dealing. 

"Well, the mischief is done," said another; "the 
best thing we can do is to sign the warrant right off 
and get it into the hands of the sheriff as soon as we 
can.' 1 

Quickly each man wrote his name all but the Ma- 
sonic, juror. Oh, that precious hour and a half wasted 
in trying to argue with one whose stupidity if it had 
been real instead of pretended ought to' have con- 
signed him to an asylum of imbeciles! But I have un- 
derstood better ever since how one Mason can so ob- 
struct the wheels of law as to cause "truth to fall in 
the streets and turn justice backward. 7 ' For that hour 
and a half was improved to the utmost by Jervish in 
making his escape. 

The next thing was to put the writ in the hands of 
the sheriff, but in vain we waited to hear news of Jer- 
vish' arrest. Sheriff Simonds had his own notions of 
Masonic duty which agreed very well with those en- 
tertained by Colonel Montfort. The hitter's note the 
previous evening had done its work, though my knowl- 
edge that he influenced the sheriff to betray his official 
trust by a reference to his Masonic obligations, and a 
promise that the lodge would shield him from conse- 
quences, as well as other incidents here related, has 
been pieced out from the various disclosures that leaked 



MASONRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. 325 

out at different times either through legal investiga- 
tion or the less formal process of hearsay. 

Hour after hour passed. Men gathered in knots, ex- 
cited, indignant, and talked the matter over, indulging 
in free comments on the shameful inactivity of the 
sheriff, as well as the conduct of Burroughs in contriv- 
ing to possess himself of all the testimony against Jer- 
vish, and then going straight from the jury-room to 
warn his client. And as the talk went on it was easy 
to see that the smouldering fires of popular indigna- 
tion needed but slight fanning to burst into a fierce 
flame. There is something awful in such a rising of 
outraged justice when the people unite as one man to 
execute vengeance. I know of but one thing more 
terrible to meet the face of the Judge in the Great 
Day of his wrath. 

Before the sun set Colonel Montfort and his clique 
were likely to get such a dose of Antimasonic excite- 
ment as they little calculated on. 

11 The sheriff is a Mason and an Odd-fellow. He 
don't want to arrest Jervish, that's plain to be seen." I 
heard remarked in one of these excited groups. Ma- 
sons and Odd-fellows are bound to stand by each other. 
That's what they all say. 1 ' 

" Well I don't know much about the Odd-fellows, 
only they and the Masons seem to be hand and glove 
together," observed another. " I've heard it said that 
Masonry was a good thing for some of our men when 
they fell into the hands of the rebels in the war, but 
when it conies to secreting and running off criminals 
there's two sides to the question." 

"I've got a story to 'tell on that point," spoke up a 
man who wore a soldier's coat. " When 1 was in the 



326 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

army I used to see a good deal of Masonry from the 
outside, I never was one myself. I know one of our 
colonels that in the battle of South Mountain would 
have been cashiered for cowardice if he hadn't been a 
Mason. Somehow the court-martial didn't convict, 
and not a great while after he was promoted. But 
that ain't, the story [ was going to tell. I was in Ous- 
ter's command and a batch of us were taken prisoners 
by guerilla General Mosby. He ordered that seven 
drawn by lot be hung in retaliation for the hanging of 
seven of his men by the Unionists. Among those that 
drew the marked ball was a lieutenant that I knew 
very well. I never saw these men again. They were 
carried off to a place near Sheridan's headquarters and 
hung. I and some others got exchanged after a while 
and about a year afterward I met this same lieutenant 
alive and well. 4 1 thought you wan't in the land of 
the living,' says I, when we came to speak. 'I shouldn't 
have been,' says he, ' if I hadn't been a Mason; that 
saved my life.' I tell you I thought Masonry was a 
mighty good thing after hearing that, and 1 had agreat 
idea of joining them myself, but there's a sequel to it 
as they say. When the war was over I fell in with a 
man that had been a Confederate soldier and knew all 
about the hanging of these men saw it done. Well. 
I asked about the lieutenant. 'He was a Freemason.' 
says he; 'I saw him give the sign to my colonel and 
saw him return it. The colonel went off and a little 
while after he came back with two prisoners of his own 
that he handed to the officer who had charge of the 
affair. They were placed on the fatal line instead of 
the lieutenant, who was set free-, and their two lives 
went for his." 



MASONRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. 32t 

A thrill of horror ran through the group, which was 
now considerably enlarged. The soldier's story had 
only added fuel to the fire. Every minute the excite- 
ment deepened as fresh cause in the continued inactivity 
of the sheriff or some rumor of a new attempt on the 
part of the lodge to thwart justice, fanned the flame. 

Suddenly the cry rose up, at first from a single 
throat, then caught up and repeated by others, " Tear 
doAvn Burroughs' office! Lynch the Masonic scoun- 
drel!" 

The mob spirit^was fast taking possession of fhe 
crowd, which, now swelled to hundreds, had gathered 
about the court-house, when a clear, commanding voice, 
addressing them from the steps of the building, made 
a temporary silence, 

" These men are acting on their own responsibility 
and not in accordance with their obligations as Masons. 
While I utterly denounce the conduct of the sheriff as 
a most base betrayal of his official duty, I appeal to 
you, fellow townsmen and citizens, to come to the aid 
of the law, and allow no deed of violence to be com- 
mitted which will only obstruct its course. Justice 
shall be done. 1 ask your help in ferreting out the 
murderer, and when he is found rest assured that no 
lodge obligation, real or fancied, shall screen him from 
the punishment he deserves.' 1 

" The clear, ringing voice penetrated to the farthest 
edge of the crowd. The speaker himself stood in fair 
view, his dark eyes glowing like coals of fire under the 
full, massive brow, his pale face paler by contrast. 
Everybody knew him Anson Lovejoy, Master of the 
lodge. 

There is a mighty force in simple sincerity. Not a 



328 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

man in that excited throng ahhorrecl more intensely 
the crime which had been committed than did he, or 
felt a more burning desire to see insulted law avenged 
in the speedy arrest of the criminal. And when he 
threw the odium of all this obstructing of justice on 
the shoulders of individual Masons instead of the lodge 
itself, there were enough who believed him in the face 
of their own previous convictions, not to say the evi- 
dence of their own senses, to make a perceptible differ- 
ence in the attitude of the crowd. A more calm and 
reasonable spirit was succeeding the, tumultuous ex- 
citement which had threatened at one time to end in 
mob violence. The advocates of lynch law were silent 
and under the reaction thus made the throng slowly 
and by degrees dispersed. 

A few hours later I was at home attending to some 
duty about the farm when Anson Lovejoy came hurried- 
ly up, his face still pale but settled into those grave, 
determined lines which speak the man whose whole 
soul is roused to meet a crisis. 

u Mr. Severns, I want the loan of your fastest horse- 
I have just received news that Jervish has left his hid- 
ing place where he has been secreted all this time and 
hired a man by the name of Leach to take him across 
the river. This Leach is a poor, worthless fellow, who 
never has any money and is therefore easily bribed." 

"What will Masons think of your action in this 
matter?" I said, as I threw the halter over the neck of 
the beautiful roan, acknowledged one of the fastest 
steeds in the neighborhood, and led him out. " Depend 
upon it, your part in to-day's affair will never be over- 
looked or forgiven by the lodge." 

u I care not," he answered, " I am acting up to my 



MASOKRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. 329 

Masonic obligations as I understand them. God do so 
to me and more also if I knowingly leave a single stone 
unturned that is hindering the way of justice." 

He spoke with solemn, almost tierce earnestness 
then, after an instant's silence, added in his usual tone, 
" While you are getting the horse ready I will speak 
with Mrs. Severns a moment," and so saying he stepped 
quickly across to the open side door where he had 
always until now met with the ready admittance ac- 
corded to a friend and neighbor. 

What he was going to say to Rachel I know not, for 
he was given no chance to say it, but I think a desire to 
have her God speed in the task to which he had set 
himself prompted the action. 

Rachel met him just as he was entering, with stern 
face and forbidding gesture. She had not heard his 
conversation with me or very likely would not have 
addressed him exactly as she did. 

u Not a step farther. No murderer or companion of 
murderers crosses my threshold." 

"Mrs. Severns!" he exclaimed, startled, astonished. 

" I mean what I say," she answered, firmly. u You 
uphold this dark, unclean system of the lodge and thus 
make yourself a partaker in the innocent blood it has 
shed. ' Go!" 

The reader mush excuse Rachel, unjust as she was, 
for her very soul was boiling within her, and this 
passionate outburst was due to a deeper cause than the 
common feeling of indignation which possessed the 
community at large. In divine faith that she might 
yet redeem to virtue and happiness the erring soul 
which had mistaken a cold, deceiving mirage for the 
water of affection, and for whom henceforth society 



380 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

would have no use but to cast out and trample under 
foot, she had planned and labored as only a Christian 
woman can. And this was the terrible ending! The 
prey for which she had wrestled with Satan had been 
basely, cruelly torn out of her hand, and she felt some- 
thing of the fury of the bereaved lioness when she con- 
fronted Anson Lovejoy. 

"I assure you, Mrs. Severns," he began again, and 
again she interrupted him. though this time her voice 
was a trifle softer, her manner a shade gentler. 

" I accuse you of nothing but of being allied to such 
a system. And that is enough. Shall a man take fire 
in his bosom and not be burned? No. Mr. Lovejoy, no 
adhering Mason from henceforth receives a welcome 
under my roof." 

And she turned from him and walked away, leaving 
the victim of this severe castigation to recover from it 
as well as he could. And certainly for a moment An- 
son Lovejoy looked rather dejected. He was without 
domestic ties, his wife having died in the first year of 
their marriage, and I well understood, or thought I did, 
how this sudden closing against him of ^ home where 
he had always been a welcome guest, dropping in at 
any time when his business permitted, thus seeming to 
find some faint, shadowy compensation for his own 
buried joys, would naturally affect him. 

But he quickly recovered himself, and going to where 
the horse now stood in readiness leaped into the saddle. 
As he did so I took occasion to say 

"Rachel has a sharp tongue, but her heart is all 
right. Some time she will see that she has done you 
injustice." 

"I hope so. Mr. Severns." he answered. "But" 



MASONRY PROTECTING MURDERERS. 331 

and lie spoke with the grave, slo\v emphasis of one re- 
cording a vow u if Masonry is what from this day's 
work I have reason to fear it is, and I remain connect- 
ed with it an hour longer than I can help, I shall merit 
the sever-est denunciations she has heaped upon me." 

And he rode swiftly away to join the pursuing party, 
which had halted at an appointed place of meeting, and 
were now discussing which of two different roads the 
fugitive had probably taken. A few outsiders had 
gathered about, among them, the sheriff, who seemed to 
take an extraordinary interest in the settling of this 
question considering his previous inactivity. 

u I tell you, Lovejoy, if you take the direction of Qui- 
paw Creek you'll miss it," he said, excitedly. '' Jervish 
has gone more south." 

" My men are on the right track," returned Lovojoy, 
composedly, in whose mind the last lingering doubt 
whether he was really taking the roui^e Jervish had 
gone was now dispelled by the sheriff's evident anxiety 
to have him go the opposite way. 

u But I tell you, 1 ' repeated the sheriff in still more 
excited tones, "a man told me not more than an hour 
ago that he had met him and Leach on the road." 

This piece, of information made some of the party 
waver but had no effect on their staunch leader, who 
issued his command J;o set off at once in the direction 
of Quipaw Creek, at which the sheriff called to his aid 
considerable profanity, not necessary to repeat, in. con- 
firmation of what he had said, provoking from one of 
the number as they rode away this satirical speech 

kt Set the fox to guard the hen-coop, will ye? When 
I do that I'll take advice from a Mason. If you Knew 
all this about Jervish an hour ago why wan't you off 



HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

after him instead of loafing about with the coroner's 
warrant lying idle in your pocket?" 

And the discomforted sheriff, who had' certainly 
striven heroically to fulfil his Masonic obligations, re- 
tired amid more hooting and jeering than was quite 
pleasant. 

Swiftly, steadity, the pursuers pressed on, and before 
long came in sight of a common farm wagon apparent- 
ly loaded with meal-bags. The driver of the wagon 
was quickly recognized by several of the party to whom 
he was well known, as the man who had undertaken to 
aid Jervish in his flight. But Leach sat alone on the 
seat, driving. Where was his companion? 

An order from Lovejoy to search the wagon soon set- 
tled this question. The vehicle was found to be so ar- 
ranged by sticks laid across the seeming meal-bags, 
which were in reality stuffed with hay, placed on these, 
and high enough from the floor of the wagon to make 
a hiding place for the miserable Jervish, who was now 
ignominiously dragged therefrom, and Colonel Mont- 
fort's friend, the elegant man of society, spent that 
night in the county jail to the great satisfaction of all 
worthy citizens of Granby, with whom, now that the 
chief criminal was caught, the Antimasonic excitement 
subsided as rapidly as it rose. 

i 




CHAPTER XXXVI. 

SOME EXAMPLES OF MASONIC BENEVOLENCE AND MOR- 
ALITY. 

>ALF a dozen summers previous to the 
one in which occurred the scenes related 
in the last chapter, there happened one 
of those common and yet most sad 
events, a serious accident to a laboring 
man with a wife and children dependent 
upon him for their daily bread. He was a 
carpenter and fell from an imperfectly built 
staging, receiving severe internal injuries that 
resulted in his death after a year of lingering illness. 
u The lodge will see to you and the children," whis- 
pered the dying man to his weeping wife, whose always 
delicate health had been shattered by incessant watch- 
ing at the bedside of her sick husband, and, knowing 
that his death would leave her without a penny, could 
not see in the dark night of approaching widowhood 
the -glimmer of a single star of earthly hope. "I've 
always paid my dues regular till that accident hap- 
pened. The lodge owes it to me to see that you and 
the children are well provided for." 

'' They have given us in all but twenty dollars since 
you have been sick,*' answered the wife, who was only a 



334 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

woman and reasoned as women are apt to in such mat- 
ters. " That is but a fraction of what you have paid 
them at one time and another. And I am sure we have 
needed the money. 1 ' 

; I know twenty dollars don't go a great ways, but 
we've rubbed along. And now I've got pretty uigh the 
end, so there'll be all the more for you and the chil- 
dren." 

His wife was silent. She had her misgivings, but not 
for worlds would she breathe the shadow of a doubt 
into the ear of that soul that was passing into eternity, 
happy in the thought that he belonged to a brother- 
hood which made the widow and the orphan the objects 
of its especial care. 

That night he died. The lodge buried him with 
Christies prayers and dirges, an-d, to do it justice, 
spared none of the honors to which a defunct "worthy 
brother " is Masonically entitled. The widow's hopes 
revived. Surely they who would do so much for the 
dead would have a care for the living. But the lodge, 
when applied to for assistance, viewed the matter in a 
slightly different light. , For, to state the simple truth, 
a number of grand suppers given by the fraternity, 
sundry bills of cost for regalia, gloves, aprons, etc., to 
say nothing of a great many extras for wine, beer and 
cigars, had swallowed up so much of the charity fund 
as to leave the lodge in no condition to heed her ap- 
peal. But it must not be supposed that any such ex- 
planation of the case was given to the indigent widow 
when she asked for further aid. Oh, no. She was 
coolly told that her husband had not paid his dues for 
a year, and they had done all that could reasonably bo 
expected of them in giving him Masonic burial,. 



MASONIC BENEVOLENCE. 335 

She could not prove that the lodge had taken her 
husband's money and paid him back, not counting in- 
terest, scarce a fifth part of what was his actual due. 
The widow struggled along for a while; a few individ- 
ual Masons contributed to her relief from their own 
pockets, but as benevolently inclined persons are to be 
found everywhere and the lodge collectively had noth- 
ing to do with these contributions, it niny be fair to 
infer that they might possibly have done the same 
thing whether Masons or not. It was a hopeless 
struggle even with occasional aid from private charity. 
Her health completely broke down at last. Her two 
children were bound out, while she went to the alms- 
house as her only refuge^ dying there soon after in a 
quick consumption. 

Death, in separating her from her children, however, 
spared her, as death so often does, the pang of a deeper 
anguish for she was Mary Lyman's mother. 

It doesn't matter where I gathered these facts. 
They are true. This is not a statistical book or else I 
should be tempted to give a few figures that would 
demonstrate to the most skej^ical that the benevolence 
of the lodge is on a par with its morality a hollow 
sham, a whited sepulchre. 

Mary Lyman's father was a Mason, but this fact did 
not save her from ruin and death at the hands of a 
brother Mason who had solemnly sworn to preserve in- 
violate the chastity of all women with near Masonic 
kindred, though with this very convenient little pro- 
viso attached, "knowing them to be such" 

Women of America, do you hold your purity so 
lightlv that you can afford to countenance such a system 
as this ? Will you, knowing these things, still continue 



336 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

to smile on the lodge and accept its slimy favors? Sis- 
ters of the Church of Christ, does it matter nothing: to 
you that Masonry rejects his name from her ritual as 
" too sectarian and tramples his atoning blood under 
foot by teaching another way of salvation ? that by the 
testimony of her own writers she traces back her origin 
to the ancient heathen mysteries with their abomina- 
ble rites of darkness, and aspires, as we learn from the 
same unquestionable source, to become finally u the 
universal religion of manhood?" Can you pray for 
the speedy coming of Christ's millennial reign and be 
indifferent to the fact that another kingdom is being 
set up in which he has neither part nor lot? Will you 
apologize for such a system? defend it by your silence 
or worse still " care nothing about it?" As it rejects 
Christ, so it has no place for woman, and should the 
day ever dawn when Masonry becomes the universal 
religion, God help her! 

Rachel herself gathered the flowers from her own 
garden to lay about the dead girl's white, still form. 
She placed a half-opened rosebud between the closed 
fingers, kissed the cold forehead, and with solemn words 
of prayer that seemed in their tender, impassioned 
earnestness like a personal appeal to that infinite, un- 
changing Pity which is at the heart of God in Christ, 
visibly manifested before his eyes it was Elder Sted- 
man who performed the last services Mary Lyman 
was laid away in a corner of the potter's field outside 
the cemetery to slumber till the resurrection morning. 

But before the grave had set its seal of corruption on 
the statuesque beauty of a single lineament her mur- 
derer was released on a writ of habeas corpus and ad- 
mitted to bail ! 



MASONIC BENEVOLENCE. 337 

Elder Stedman, when the funeral was over, came 
back to our house; but, unheeding the cup of tea that 
Rachel poured out for him. he paced up and down the 
room in stern and solemn silence, broken at last by 
these abrupt words 

"I have been like one of the foolish prophets. I 
have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people 
slightly. God forgive me. Henceforth every faculty 
of mind and body shall be devoted to an unceasing 
warfare against this dragon of Masonry that stands 
like his prototype in Revelation ready to engulf and 
and swallow the church with the devouring flood he 
casts out of his mouth. 1 " 

" Why, Mark;' 1 said I, "you do yourself injustice. 
When hardly a preacher in these parts dares to men- 
tion Masonry you have scourged it unsparingly from 
the pulpit. What can you do more?" 

" I tell you, Leander," said Mark, pausing a moment 
in his agitated walk, " I feel as if I had only tickled the 
monster by throwing wooden darts at him. Hence- 
forth it must be a hand to hand combat. Only 
the iron of truth can penetrate between the scales of 
his armor, for, like Apollyon, his scales are his pride. 
I must lecture as well as preach on this subject." 

"But Mark," I answered, a little startled, u you will 
only rouse persecution. A good many people seem to 
think Masonry is like the Giant Pope Christian saw 
sitting in the mouth of his cave too old and decrepit 
to hurt. But I know better. The lodge don't care 
much for a few side thrusts, but attack it at close 
quarters and you will find that it can turn with as 
deadly vengeance as it did in Morgan's day." 

a Well," answered the Elder, quietly, ^ I am old and 



338 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

gray-headed now, and a few years of life less or more 
matters little to me. There is a conflict coining and 
woe unto me if I gird noc on my armor to meet it. My 
old belief comes back to me. This is going to be no 
ordinary -contest. It is the battle of Armageddon, the 
last great conflict before the final end." 

Mark .spoke with the same kindling eyes and solemn 
fervor with which he had dilated on this very same 
subject forty years before. 

u I have had some such thoughts myself," I answered, 
after a moment's silence. " Organized secrecy seems 
to be Satan's last and most cunning move. In the old 
pagan and popery times he tried to conquer the church 
by sheer open force. Now he is trying to undermine 
the citadel, and the worst of it is the church won't be 
roused to see her danger. However, I suppose I can no 
more keep y ou out of the battle than I could Job's war- 
horse. Only have a care of yourself, Mark, for Han- 
nah's sake." 

The Elder started as if I had touched a tender chord, 
for he and Hannah were a lonely couple now. Of their 
two sons, one had died in the service of his country, 
the other was a toiling missionary on the far-off soil of 
southern Africa. But it was only for an instant, then 
the pole star of his life shone out clear and steady. 

"I told Hannah the day she married me that she 
must take me as the Covenanter John Brown took his 
wife, Isabel, with the assurance that when she least 
expected it the hand of violence might part him from 
her.. We have learned to hold nothing back not even 
each other." 

But while the Elder was thus absorbed in thoughts 
of that great pre-millennial contesLivhich he believed 



KASONIC BENEVOLENCE. 339 

Was approaching, Colonel Montfort was likewise think- 
ing though 011 a different subject and with a good 
cigar to aid the process. Two difficult tasks lay before 
him; one was the triumphant delivery of Maurice Jer- 
vish from the hands of justice, the other was the sacri- 
fice of Anson Lovejoy to violated Masonic law. 

The Colonel was not a man of generous impulses, 
and had there been no other tie between him and Mary 
Lyman's murderer than mere friendship, he would in 
all probability have washed his hands of him. He de- 
sired to shield Jervish, firstly and primarily, because 
the honor and glory of Masonry demanded it. What 
was to become of the fraternity if its members could 
claim 110 special privileges over honest men? A vital 
question to the Colonel, who knew very well that there 
had been times in his own political and military career 
when he might have fared badly if the shielding of 
efich other's crimes had formed no part of lodge obli- 
gations. However hopeless the situation might appear 
to un-Masonic eyes, in the light of these encouraging 
items of his past experience, the Colonel did not despair 
of bringing off his friend with flying colors. It was 
over another subject that he spent the most anxious 
thought, and consumed the greatest number of cigars. 

He hated Anson Lovejoy as wickedness will always 
hate rectitude. He was furious that he had dared to 
pursue Jervish and deliver him over to the grasp of 
the law; and as the controlling spirit of the lodge he 
was well aware how very easily the wrath of the fra- 
ternity against him coul<ji be made to bring forth its 
legitimate fruit murder. Nor is it too much to say of 
the Colonel that he knew he could at any moment put 
his finder on the men who would not scruple to dispose 



&40 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

of Anson Lovejoy after the most approved Masonic 
fashion. The possibility however of another Antima- 
sonic excitement was a factor which continually came 
in and disturbed the Colonel's reckoning, for he was a 
man accustomed to weigh duly all the pros and cons 
before committing himself to a course of action which 
might entail disagreeable consequences. But his hatred 
of Lovejoy burned with so intense a flame that for once 
passion overpowered the cool and calculating selfish- 
ness which with him as with most men of that peculiar 
caliber was the governing principle of his life. 

The sound of his name spoken in low and cautious 
tones by some one standing outside broke in upon the 
Colonel's meditations. He rose and, opening the long 
window, stepped out upon the piazza. A man stood 
there in the moonlight, a prominent member of Fidel- 
ity Lodge. 

"Oh, it is you, Mugford. I suppose all the arrange- 
ments are made then; but don't let too many into the 
secret. Half a dozen would be enough if the affair was 
managed properly.' 1 

" I've talked with Golding and Peck and the others. 
They will be all ready to do their part when the time 
comes. But Whitby we can't depend on I am afraid. 
He hangs back." 

The Colonel muttered an oath. 

" Well, shut his mouth up some way. If he is dis- 
posed to blab give him a hint that we know how to 
manage traitors. We can deal with one as well as an- 
other." And after a little more conversation of like 
tenor the two conspirators separated. 

Masonic murders would be much more common than 
is happily the case if the brethren everywhere lived up 



MASONIC BENEVOLENCE. 341 

to their obligations; but just as, the majority of slave- 
holders were far more humane than the system which 
gave them irresponsible power, so Masons as a rule are 
better than the institution which swears its devotees to 
bring every traitor to "strict and condign punishment." 
Among the hardened and desperate men, the rowdies, 
gamblers and drunkards who surrounded Colonel Mont- 
fort and moved obsequiously to do his bidding, there 
was one who shrank from the crime of secret assassina- 
tion. The result was that Ansou Lovejoy the next day 
received from an unknown source a much crumpled 
note with a rude imitation of the square and compass 
in the corner, which after correcting some peculiarities 
of orthography ran as follows: 

"Don't go to the lodge to-night. They mean to ask you to resign, then drag 
you from the chair if you refuse, and murder you in the lodge-room. In the 
scuffle it will never be known who struck the blow. If you value your life, stay 
away. A FRIEND AND A MASON." 

"How do I know but this is a mere foolish trick to 
frighten me?" said Lovejoy. u It would look too cow- 
ardly to stay away. I can't do it." 

* l No," I said, earnestly, " this is no trick but a friend- 
ly warning. You must heed it." 

Lovejoy stood irresolute. I knew he felt as a brave 
man always does at the thought of saving his life by 
what seems like cowardly flight from a post of duty. 

"I have thought of a plan," I said, after a moment's 
silence. u Go to the lodge to-night as usual, and your 
life shall be protected." 

"How?" 

" Station a guard round the lodge. There are plenty 
of Antimasons in Granby that would rather enjoy 
serving in such a capacity. Take your seat in the 
chair precisely as at any ordinary meeting, and as soon 



342 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

as there is the least attempt at violence, give the signal 
and we will burst open the door and rush in." 

u That will do," he said, after a moment's delibera- 
tion. " No better plan could be devised." 

And with the understanding that I should as quickly 
and quietly as possible gather a force sufficient for his 
protection, Anson Lovejoy prepared to front the men 
who had secretly banded together to take his life. For 
what? For violating his Masonic obligations. In 
other words, for daring to do his duty as an honest, 
God-fearing citizen of this free Republic, consecrated 
to liberty by the blood and tears of our forefathers v yet 
fostering in its bosom a dark and terrible despotism 
which, when its laws are violated, knows neither mercy 
nor forgiveness, allows of no appeal from its sentence, 
and punishes without the form of trial. 

Although the tide of popular excitement in Granby 
had subsided with the arrest of Jervish, it left, as such 
excitements usually do, a deposit behind it. Firm and 
settled conviction had taken in many minds the place 
of ignorance and doubt. Pronounced Antimasons were 
scarce before; now they were very common. Conse- 
quently I found no difficulty in gathering a force suffi- 
ciently large to surround the lodge and prevent the 
threatened attack on Anson Lovejoy. 

We allowed the brethren time to assemble, and then 
inarching silently from our place of rendezvous we 
took our stations around the building, scarcely daring 
to breathe lest some sound should escape our ears from 
the upper room where the lodge was meeting. 

Meanwhile Lovejoy had seated himself in the Master's 
chair and gone through the preliminary exercises with 
outward calmness. He no longer doubted the truth of 



MASONIC BENEVOLENCE. 343 

the warning note. Even before lie caught sight of a 
knife concealed under the coat of one of the members 
he knew himself to be surrounded by a band of secret 
assassins, and felt that on his courage and tact in co- 
operating with those outside his life depended. 

Colonel Montfort, as before hinted, was a man that 
preferred to do his dirty work by means of tools. He 
meant to keep his hand concealed throughout this 
whole affair. It was therefore no part of his scheme 
to open the attack 011 Lovejoy in person, but to put 
forward Simon Peck instead, as the mouth-piece of the 
lodge. Peck was an ignorant and illiterate man, and 
far from being a good spokesman, but he knew that the 
demand to resign would be felt by Lovejoy as an addi- 
tional insult, coming from such a quarter. Peck was 
the most subservient of tools under his master's eye, 
and in the present case some personal feeling, mingling 
with the infuriated hate towards Lovejoy which he 
shared in common with the other members of the 
lodge, for so violating his Masonic obligations as to 
arrest a murderer. 

Some writer has said that everybody is well connect- 
ed in certain directions. So also is the opposite fact 
true, especially among the heterogeneous elements that 
compose American society for Maurice Jervish, the 
personal friend of Colonel Montfort, was also some 
connection of the Pecks. It was there he had first 
seen Mary Lyman, and though he moved in a so much 
higher social sphere than they, was quite willing to 
take all the advantage which his relationship to the 
family gave him in accomplishing the ruin of his vic- 
tim. Peck had badgered his wife into dem'ing before 
the coroner's jury all knowledge of the closed carriage 



344 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

that had been seen to stop at their door the night Mary 
was missing; he had likewise aided in secreting Jervish 
it was believed on his premises, which the sheriff, 
true to his Masonic obligations, refused to search all 
at the bidding of Colonel Montfort, who found in Peck 
just that mixture of bigotry and self-conceit which is 
so convenient in the underlings of the lodge when their 
superiors wish to manipulate them for purposes of their 
own. - 

Lovejoy listened calmly to the end of the halting, 
ungrammatical speech, which was really nothing but a 
low tirade of abuse. He was prepared for this part of 
the programme. Peck sat down and wiped his fore- 
head, rather exhausted with his effort at oratory, but 
supremely satisfied therewith. There was an instant's 
silence, during which Lovejoy's eye looked with eagle 
keenness over the throng of conspirators which sur- 
rounded him like a pack of hungry wolves thirsting for 
his blood; and then he answered slowly and firmly: 

" If I have committed any offence against Masonic 
law I am willing to meet the charge, and if proved, 
submit like any ordinary member to the sentence of the 
lodge. 1 am denounced as a traitor. To resign the 
chair under these circumstances would be equivalent to 
a plea of guilty, and I therefore refuse most decidedly 
to do any such thing." 

This reply was also in agreement with the pro- 
gramme. There was a murmur of rage as Lovejoy 
finished speaking, and a forward movement from the 
member who carried the concealed dirk. 

" You shall resign, you blasted traitor!" he exclaimed, 
with an oath. " Take your choice, either be dragged 
from the chair or give it up peaceably." 



MASONIC BENEVOLENCE. 345 

" I will neither be dragged from the chair nor give 
it up, coolly answered Lovejoy, who knew that the fatal 
moment was fast approaching when, according to their 
pre-concerted arrangement, the whole band of ruffians 
would be on him. " You have met here to take my 
life. I know it, and others know it, too. A guard of 
the .citizens of Grranby, at least a hundred strong, now 
surround this lodge, prepared to rescue me from your 
hands should you attempt violence. I have only to 
give a certain signal and they will rush in. The result 
may be a worse Antimasonic excitement than the one 
you accuse me of heading. Now take your choice; 
give up your plan to assassinate me, or carry it through 
and take the consequences." 

The lion's mouth was fairly shut, for the most infuri- 
ated Mason present did not care to provoke the popular 
vengeance that would have surely followed any attack 
on Lovejoy. Colonel Montfort, under his concealing 
moustache, fairly ground his teeth with rage at this 
unlooked-for miscarriage of his deep and subtle plot. 
He had rightly calculated that with every member of 
the lodge pledged to keep Masonic silence over the 
affair, and Masonic sheriffs and juries to obstruct the 
course of justice in every possible way, there would not 
be the ten thousandth part o*f a chance that the actual 
perpetrators of the deed would ever be discovered or 
punished. Nor had it occurred to his mind that Love- 
joy, even if he should hear of the plot against him, 
would take any other measure of self-defense than sim- 
ply to stay away 

"I have one more remark to make on this subject," 
continued Lovejoy, looking round with unflinching 
gaze on the baffled conspirators. " You denounce ine 



34:6 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

as being false to Masonry because in the discharge of 
my duties as a citizen, I arrested a criminal who is also 
a Mason. If to be true to my lodge obligations re- 
quires me to be false to God and my country, then I 
have had enough of the system, and the world has had 
far too much; and the only thing that I or any other 
honest man can do in such a case is to quit it.*' 

I will not transcribe the volley of cursing and pro- 
fanity which followed this speech of Lovejoy's. It was 
as if hell had broken loose. Colonel Montfort, who 
had by this time assured himself that eager ears were 
really straining in the darkness and silence below to 
"catch the least sound of tumult or uproar in the lodge, 
was alarmed. 

"The brethren forget that this is a meeting for busi- 
ness, 1 ' he said, with cool effrontery. " We are only 
wasting time by this useless talk. Our Worshipful 
Master charges the brethren with a conspiracy to as- 
sassinate him. I on my part charge him with un-Ma- 
sonic conduct in hiring a mob of cowans and eaves- 
droppers to surround the lodge; with using inflamma- 
tory language designed to excite the public mind 
against the order, besides many other violations of his 
obligations and duties as a Mason. I therefore move 
that a complaint be presented to the Grand Lodge of 
the State against Anson Lovejoy, Worshipful Master 
of Fidelity Lodge, No. 60., A. F, & A. M., petitioning 
for his expulsion and removal from office." 

Lovejoy listened with calm disdain. To a man who 
had stood but the moment before face to face with 
death this was but the firing of blank cartridges. The 
after proceedings were unimportant, and after an *un- 



MASONIC BEIOIYOLENCE. 347 

usually brief and quiet meeting the lodge disbanded, 
fairly checkmated in its murderous purpose. 

The hushed and silent crowd kept vigilant watch till 
Lovejoy came out; then greeted him with enthusiastic 
cheers that could be heard half over Grauby. He was 
the hero of the hour, but I fancied that like some other 
heroes he felt that there was a certain thing lacking to 
his triumph. 

"A Christian should not bear malice, Mr. Lovejoy," 
I said, as I shook his hand. Give us a call to-morrow 
and allow Mrs. Severns to congratulate you." 

Lovejoy hesitated. He had not crossed our threshold 
since the day Rachel had forbid his entrance; and I 
could not blame him if he entertained some rankling 
remembrance of her harsh and bitter words. 

" If you think I shall be welcome not otherwise," 
he answered. 

u Try it," I said, with a smile. Lovejoy hesitated no 
longer. 

" Thank you, Mr. Severns, I will, if it is only to 
prove that I ; bear no malice,' as you call it, because 
your good wife told me the truth. I was a companion 
of murderers as to-night's events have made me realize. 
But I am so no longer." 

The next day, agreeably to his promise, he came over. 
Rachel met him with extended hand and a hearty, 
41 Forgive me, I was unjust; but I have found out my 
mistake." 

" t have nothing to forgive, Mrs. Severns," was his 
equally sincere and hearty answer. " The medicine 
was harsh, but I am no worse for it." 

Verily, 

' ' A curse from the depths of womanhood 
Is very bitter and salt and good." 




CHAPTER XXXVII. 

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. 

I HE community ah large looked upon the 
speedy conviction of Jervish as a matter 
of course, and when the time arrived for 
the court to sit on the case the public 
mind had quieted down from its state of 
excitement to one of comparative apathy. 
Against such overwhelming evidence what 
possible chance for any verdict but guilty? 

Anson Lovejoy thought otherwise. 
" The lodge is bound to clear Jervish,'' he said to me 
one day when the subject of the approaching trial 
happened to be mentioned. "And tliey will do it" - 
Even I, who knew so well what Masonic craft and 
guile is capable of in the way of perverting justice, 
was surprised at the posjtiveness with which he spoke. 
" Impossible !" I said. u No plainer case of guilt ever 
came before a jury." 

u That may be," answered Lovejoy with a little touch 
of satire," but you will find that when a fourth or even 
less of the jury wear Masonic spectacles to assist their 
understandings the plainest cases have a faculty of 
growing strangely involved. Colonel Montfort and 
the other members of the lodge have a personal stake 
in this affair quite outside of any particular interest 



HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. 349 

they may feel in Jervish. It is a kind of a test ques- 
tion. They want to prove to the world and to them- 
selves that Masonry is strong enough to spread its pro- 
tecting wing over the vilest criminal and then defy the 
hand of the law to reach him. My word for it, Sheriff 
Simonds will fill out the jnry with Masons and Odd- 
fellows to a man; with possibly one who is neither 
Mason nor Odd-fellow, but whose sympathies or con- 
nections are all with the lodge, put in simply for a 
blinder to the public nothing more.'" 

I started, for this was the same dodge that had been 
played so often and so successfully in the Morgan 
trials forty years before. What should hinder its work- 
ing equally well in the present instance? 

The wide-spread notoriety of the case attracted an 
unusually large number to hear the trial, and each day 
of the proceedings a crowded court room attested to 
the interest it had excited. The witness against 
Maurice Jervish was clear and conclusive; the testimo- 
ny in his favor slight and open to serious doubt from 
the character of the witnesses or the suspicion that 
lodge influence had been at work, especially with Mrs. 
Peck, who swore positively to having no knowledge 
where Mary Lyman went on the night she left the 
house, or in whose company; but was believed by every 
candid person to have perjured herself under terror in- 
spired by her husband, who knew very well how to use 
the peculiar arguments of the lodge with most impres- 
sive effect on his weak-minded partner. 

Lovejoy's prophecy had proved true to the letter in 
relation to Sheriff Simonds, who filled out the jury 
with four Masons and one Odd-fellow, together with a 
sixth who was neither a Mason nor an Odd-fellow, but 
a warm personal friend of the prisoner! And so the 
case proceeded a great deal of tedious quibbling and 



350 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

impudent brow-beating of witnesses from the Masonic 
lawyer who was counsel for the accused, and did his 
best, though signally failing in the attempt for there 
are some things beyond even the power of False- 
hood to represent the whole affair as a malicious per- 
secution of his client. And then, the evidence all be- 
ing in, the departure of the jury to render their de- 
cision guilty or not guilty. 

I remember with what hushed expectancy we waited 
for the verdict; how in the stillness of the court room 
the jury's returning footsteps after their brief absence 
sounded painfully loud. And I remember, too, the 
half-stunned^ half- sick feeling that came over me. as if 
I saw Justice stabbed to the heart and was forced to 
stand by when the death-blow was struck as the fore- 
man pronounced their decision 

"NoT GUILTY!" 

The lodge had triumphed. Mary Lyman's murderer 
was free. 

Astounded, indignant, almost questioning whether 
my ears had heard aright, I listened to the giving of 
the verdict, which was followed by loud applause from 
Colonel Montfort's adherents, who closed around Jer- 
vish and bore him away like a conquering hero. It 
was the same scene with which the court rooms of 
western New York grew so familiar in 1826 and the 
four years succeeding. It was history repeated, a Ma- 
sonic jury setting aside the plainest evidence for testi- 
mony that bore the stamp of perjury on its very face; 
law helpless under the heel of the lodge, and the same 
exultant rallying around the murderer. 

Eachel was silent for a moment after I told her the 
result of the trial; then slie bowed her head on her 
clasped hands with a sound that was half a groan, half 
a sob. 



HISTORY EEPEATS ITSELF. 351 

" Mother!" I said, gently. 

" I can't help it," she answered. " Shall secret in- 
iquity triumph forever? I feel as if I could call upon 
God as the prophet did to rend the heavens and come 
down." 

"But there is a day of reckoning coming, you forget- 
that. mother. 1 ' 

"No, I don't forget it, but it seems such a great way 
off. What my heart cries out for is justice now. It 
will be a satisfaction to the universe no doubt when 
this wretch gets his deserts at the Day of Judgment, 
though it be a million years hence, but thinking of 
that will never reconcile me to his going free of pun- 
ishment here. His acquittal is a standing menace to 
the peace and virtue of every home. If the lodge can 
defy law at one time and in one place it can at other 
times and in other places and what is more, it will." 

u Well," said Anson Lovejoy, who had come in to 
talk over the result of the trial, " Colonel Montfort and 
his party triumph openly and shamelessly in the fact 
that they have cleared Jervish. At this very moment 
some of the jury are over at the tavern having a grand 
drinking fuddle in honor of their victory. Colonel 
Montfort, 1 understand, is preparing a garbled report 
of the affair for a Chicago daily, in which he will repre- 
sent Jervish as a cruelly attacked victim of a malicious 
Antimasonic persecution, winding up with a glowing 
account of his triumphant vindication before the jury. 
I am rather glad he is going to do so for it will give me 
a chance to reply. The real facts of the case should be 
placed before the people and signed by competent wit- 
nesses, so that every honest man and woman who reads 
it shall be convinced on which side the truth lies." 

u That is a good idea if you can get sucji an article 
inserted," I answered, with a vivid remembrance of the 



362 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

times now grown so distant and shadowy, when from 
one end of the land to the other scarce a paper dared 
to print an account of Morgan's abduction; when, deaf 
alike to the appeals of outraged humanity and violated 
law, editors almost everywhere resolutely closed their 
columns to the whole subject, presenting that saddest 
of spectacles in a hind of freedom an enslaved press. 

u Oh! I think there will be no difficulty about that," 
returned Lovejoy. "After publishing one side of the 
affair they, couldn't for decency's sake refuse to publish 
the other." 

" How is your trial before the Grand Lodge coming 
out?" I inquired. 

" I hardly know yet, I sent my defence in writing, 
for I could not spare the money to go in person, and 
besides I have ceased to consider myself as being under 
the jurisdiction of the lodge. They appointed a com- 
mittee of three to investigate the charges against me 
and report to the Grand Master. As this committee 
was composed of an ex- Governor and two ministers I 
naturally supposed that 1 should receive gentlemanly 
treatment from their hands at least courtesy and com- 
mon fairness. But this was not the case. They refused 
to hear any testimony but that of my accusers, and 
conducted the investigation, which was the merest 
farce from beginning to end, more in the spirit of ex- 
amining members of the Inquisition than anything 
else. I presume they reported adversely; I neither 
know nor care. Nor shall I wait for the decision of 
the Grand Master; I have already sent in my renuncia- 
tion and my reasons for doing so which are substan- 
tially these ' I find that every Mason is under obliga- 
tion to conceal a brother Mason's crime; that the 
greater the orime the stronger the obligation to conceal 
it; that the lodge has the power of life and death over 



HISTORY EEPEATS ITSELF. 353 

its members; and that if any member knows of his in- 
tended assassination he has no right to use any other 
means of safety than his own physical force or keeping 
out of the way.' r 

Lovejoy spoke with slow, solemn emphasis. He had 
learned at last the lesson that Mark and I learned two 
score years before from a page stained with martyr's 
blood and blotted with the tears of the widow. The 
iron had entered into his soul. 

Elder Stedman had already delivered one or two 
Antimasonic lectures without encountering any very 
serious opposition. Another was advertised to be 
given in the Quipaw Creek school house on Thursday 
evening of this same week. 

The party at the tavern had a chance to see the no- 
tice, which was put up in a conspicuous corner of the 
public room, and make their own peculiar comments 
thereon. But remembering that my reader's ears are 
unaccustomed to vulgarity and profaneness, I shall 
only transcribe that part of their talk which is of im- 
mediate interest in view of the events that are to follow. 

Colonel Montfort himself was pledged to settle the 
score, and under the pleasant stimulus of this recollec- 
tion there was a general drinking to the health of the 
gallant Colonel. 

"Come boys, now for a rouser," s#id the leader, as he 
again filled up his glass. u Here's to Maurice Jervish, 
the brave and innocent." 

The toast was responded to with drunken enthusiasm 
and in nauseating triumph every glass was drained. 

Reader, when the lodge has reached what it takes a 
good deal of pains to inform us through its orators on 
St. John's day and other appropriate occasions, is its 
ultimate aim and object; when it rules the whole of our 
beloved country from New England to the Sierras; 



354 HOLDEN WITH CORDS. 

when it elects all our public officers from President and 
Governor downwards; when it pulls the wires at every 
political convention and caucus and controls every 
town meeting; in those palmy days a man may do that 
which is right in his own eyes; he may seduce, mur- 
der, rob, cheat, commit all the crimes in the decalogue, 
only provided that he has first had the foresight to 
learn a few Masonic signs and grips, and has likewise 
had the discrimination to select his victims entirely 
from the ranks of cowans and outsiders. A possibility 
that by that time so many will join the lodge from 
motives of self-protection as to seriously limit the field 
of operations would seem at first a slight obstacle in 
the way of this cheerful prospect. But all the diffi- 
culty rises from a superficial view of the subject. 
There will always be the cowan in the land; men too 
poor or too shiftless to pay the lodge dues; men too 
independent to surrender their liberty to a secret des- 
potism; humble followers of the Lord who refuse to 
bow to anti-Christ; besides cripples and minors, to say 
nothing of the whole female sex barred out by circum- 
stance or accident from the tender charities of the lodge. 

Now, as the above mentioned classes, taken together, 
form, at a moderate estimate, considerably more than 
two-thirds of the world's population it will be readily 
seen that the time is not likely ever to arrive when 
Masonry shall be restricted in its operations by too 
narrow a field outside. 

But we Avill leave dipping into the future and go 
back to the party gathered at the tavern who had been 
drinking just freely enough to be primed for rowdyism. 

" I say, let's go over to Quipaw to-night and shut the 
mouth of that confounded Methodist parson," proposed 
one. " The old rascal needs a lesson. Why don't he 
stick to his business and let other things alone?" 



HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. 355 

" That's so," was the ready response of another. 
u He ought to be treated to a coat of tar and feathers, 
ranting up and down the country, making trouble in 
the family and setting wives against their husbands. 
Now my wife hates Masonry like the devil, and ever 
since she heard that confounded fellow lecture she's 
been worse about it. Now I say that Masonry ain't a 
part of a preacher's business. He ought to stick to the 
Gospel. That's what ministers are for." 

It is astonishing, reader, the unanimity of opinion 
that sometimes exists between two very opposite classes 
of men. The drunken rowdy who gave utterance to 
the above edifying sentiments was of exactly the same 
mind with the Rev. Dr. Easy, who was at that very 
moment expressing to one of the deacons of his church 
his sorrow that Bro. Stedman should leave his legiti- 
mate business of saving souls to attack such a respecta- 
ble institution as Freemasonry, with which so many 
worthy men were connected. 

Meanwhile the Elder was lifting up his heart in 
prayer for strength to stand firm against the enemies 
of the truth; for a spirit of meekness and charity 
towards all who should oppose; for the presence of 
Jesus Christ to go with him in might and power, di- 
recting the battle to a glorious victory over the hosts 
of Baal for the honor of his precious name and the 
hastening of his day of Millennial triumph. 

The Elder rose from his knees and walked to the 
place appointed, calm as the summer sunset. He would 
have been calm if he had known that he was to en- 
counter a raging mob ready to tear him in pieces. Into 
that eternal fortress where the righteous run and are 
safe, his soul had entered. Girded from Jehovah's 
celestial armory, with the sword of truth in his hand 
that forty years of constant warfare had only whetted to 



356 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

a keen edge, why should he fear the face of mortal man? 

He began his lecture, which was on the relation of 
the Christian religion to Masonry, in comparative 
quiet. It was a rather miscellaneous audience; a few 
earnest, intelligent men and women met to learn what 
they could about a system which pretends to hold in 
its keeping ineffable secrets impossible to be discovered 
by profane gaze, yet with carious inconsistency binds 
all its members under awful oaths never to reveal the 
unrevealable! A few drawn by curiosity; and a con- 
siderable number, among whom was the party from 
the tavern, whose only design in coming was to disturb 
the meeting and mob the lecturer. 

In the course of his argument he first described in a 
few brief, fitting words, the nature and essence of true 
religion, on which followed naturally a counter de- 
scription of Masonry. Here the Elder began to tread 
on dangerous ground. So long as he kept to generali- 
ties they could afford to listen with tolerable equanimity. 
They could even bear to be told that the lodge was an 
emanation from the smoke of the bottomless pit; a 
low, cunning caricature of Christianity, a revival of 
the worship of Baal and Tammuz, and every other 
heathen deity mentioned in Scripture. But when in 
order to prove these statements he began a rapid review 
of the lodge ceremonies, the stripping, the hoodwink, 
the cable-tow, and the mock killing and raising to life 
again of the widow's son, they felt that it was high 
time to rally to the support of the ancient and venera- 
ble handmaid thus ruthlessly despoiled of all that bor- 
rowed attire in which her heart delighted. 

"You are perjured!'' shouted a voice in the audience. 

kt In what way?" mildly inquired the Elder. 

The man was about to answer, u By telling our se- 
crets," but the liquor he had drank had not so far 



HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. 357 

muddled his brains that he did not bethink himself in 
time, and as he had not taken the precaution to u fill his 
mouth with arguments" beforehand, having filled his 
pockets instead with another kind of argument very 
much in vogue with the opponents of unpopular re- 
form, he contented himself with simply reiterating, 
ll You are perjured," and sat down. 

The Elder, however, was armed cap-a-pie against all 
such attacks. 

"I am perjured, then, because I tell the truth about 
Masonry. If I was telling falsehoods it wouldn't be 
perjury. Now," added the Elder, turning to his audi- 
ence, u this man who has just interrupted me is sworn 
'ever to conceal and never reveal ' the secrets of the 
order; but he has just revealed them by the very act 
of applying to me such a term. Which of us, then, is 
perjured? I speak as to wise men. Judge ye." 

But at this point the speaker's voice was drowned in 
a storm of hissings, hootings, stampings and yellings, 
while showers of rotten eggs bespattered him liberally 
from head to foot. The wild elements were let loose. 
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, 
is no wrapt description of the scene that followed. 

The Elder, after a vain attempt to continue speak- 
ing, dismissed the audience as well as he could, and the 
respectable part dispersed. He himself remained be- 
hind to gather up his books. This gave time for a 
crowd of infuriated Masons to close about the platform, 
and surround him like a cordon of wild beasts, with 
cries of u Bring a rail, egg him, feather him, shoot 
him." But their most outrageous demonstrations of 
insult and violence did not cause a ripple in that 
heavenly calm which pervaded the Elder's soul. 

To long to suffer for the truth's sake is in some souls 
almost a natural instinct. It was so with Mark Sted- 



358 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

man. He was born with those qualities that make a 
martyr dauntless courage and intense loyalty to his 
convictions. And if we add to this the fact of all 
those long years of service for his Master, deadening 
every ease-loving, self-interested fibre in his nature; 
but quickening in the same ratio every heavenly im- 
pulse of his soul, till the ordinary motives that sway 
men had scarcely more influence over him than if he 
had been a glorified spirit, it will be readily seen that 
if their object was to frighten the Elder, he was about 
the worst possible subject they could have selected for 
such an experiment. 

" My friends," he said, mildly, "you see that I am 
powerless; you can do with me what you choose. You 
can take my life, but God rules in Heaven, and the 
truth will triumph all the same perhaps quicker. My 
soul is in his keeping; you cannot harm the truth, and 
you cannot harm me." 

The mob was silent for an instant, overawed by the 
meek daring of this servant of God; then their rage 
broke out anew in redoubled yells and fresh threats of 
violence. Suddenly a man among the crowd whose 
features were partly concealed by a hat that he wore, 
either by accident or design, pretty well over bis eyes, 
leaped on the platform, and with one quick movement 
extinguished the lights. The same friendly hand seized 
on the Elder, who, by the diversion thus made, and 
with the aid of his unknown helper, managed in the 
darkness and confusion to make his escape. 

It was Anson Lovejoy, who had seen the notice and 
made up his mind to attend the lecture, half surmising 
that there might be trouble. By mingling- with the 
mob as if one of them, he had executed his bold 
maneuvre, and the Elder went home unharmed in per- 
son and not a whit discouraged in soul. 



filSTORY REPEATS ITSELF. 359 

" The wrath of man shall praise him, and the re- 
mainder he will restrain," said Mark, in talking over 
the affair a few days after. a Outrage and violence 
never really hinder the progress of the truth. I believe 
more Antimasons were made by that lecture than by 
the two others that passed off quietly.' 1 

"And it would make still more,'' said Lovejoy, u if 
the press were not so completely dominated by Masonic 
influence that the most daring attempt to suppress free 
speech passes unnoticed. That Chicago Journal has 
actually refused to publish the contradiction to Colonel 
Montfort's article, though signed by candid, intelligent 
men who were on the coroner's jury and knew all the 
facts of the case." 

" Well," said I, u editors and ministers are, of all 
men, most timid about touching anything that savors 
of reform. The lodge has pretty much the same argu- 
ment for both. Editors don't want to displease their 
Masonic patrons and lose thereby a part of their bread 
and butter. Ministers don't want to preach an unpop- 
ular reform and so run* the risk of losing a slice off 
their salaries. And considering what a poor, weak con- 
cern human nature is, even at its best estate, I can't 
say I much wonder at it." 

* k Do you know that a professed minister of the Gos- 
pel was foremost in the riotous demonstrations the other 
night?" said Lovejoy. "I tell you while ministers 
and church members support Masonry, the system will 
stand. And furthermore, so long as ministers and 
church members who are not Masons 'think it is a 
good institution, so long as they will excuse and defend 
it, so long it will be impossible to overthrow it." 

" I have been thinking of bringing up the subject 
before our next Quarterly Conference," said the Elder. 
u If the church is ever to cast this viper out of her 
bosom it must be through agitation from within. If 
reform does not begin at the house of God, judgment 
surely will." 




CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

UNDER THE JUNIPER TREE. 

is a .certain exaltation of spirit 
which overcomes the weakness of the 
flesh when we engage in a stern wrestle 
with any kind of moral evil. Hence it 
is that reformers in every age have gone 
through life with the step^of laurelled vic- 
tors moving to the souml of triumphal 
psalms. Yet God has so constituted the human 
soul that it cannot always keep stretched to 
this heroic tension. The Elijahs who climbed the 
nearest heaven on those heights of sublime daring for 
truth's sake generally find their juniper tree some- 
where in the way. 

Mark Stedman had encountered threats, obloquy, 
persecution, with unfaltering heart. He expected 
nothing else. He was renewing the battle at double 
odds, for while the murderous spirit of Masonry re- 
mained unchanged, as evidenced by the attempted at- 
tack on Lovejoy, there was not now, as in the Morgan 
days, an awakening public sentiment to back up its 
opposers. To rouse that slumbering public sentiment, 
to lift up his voice like a trumpet and show the house 
of Judah their sin he conceived to be one of his peculiar 
duties as a sentinel of Zion; and he made no account 
of possible difficulties in convincing of her guilt a 
lukewarm church that had forsaken her first love. 



UNDER THE JUNIPER TREE. 361 

" Really, brother Stedman." said the first of his 
brother ministers in the conference to whom Mark ad- 
dressed himself, "I gave you credit for being a man of 
more sense than to run a tilt against Masonry at your 
age. You might as well try to throw Gibraltar into 
the sea." 

"Amen," returned the Elder, while his dark eye 
kindled and his thin face flushed. * 4 Every false wor- 
ship has been called impregnable. But the God I 
serve is a God of the hills as well as a God of the val- 
leys; and moreover I have Christ's promise, 4 *If ye 
have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto 
this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into 
the sea, and it shall be done/' 1 

u These are not the days of miracles," returned the 
other, rather curtly. " And to tell the truth I don't 
think it is Christian charity to indulge in such whole- 
sale denunciations of Masonry when four-fifths of the 
ministers in our conference belong i?o the lodge." 

u Counting yourself, I see," dryly answered Msirk, 
who had just caught sight of a Masonic pin gleaming 
under the coat o his charitably-disposed clerical 
brother. 

The latter looked a trifle embarrassed, not to say 
ashamed, at the discovery. 

u You see I don't wear it out in. open sight. If I was 
all wrapped up in the institution like Elder Chadband, 
I should. I joined the lodge a few years ago because I 
thought it might increase iny influence as a pastor. 
You know St. Paul became all things to all men that 
he might save a few." 

Mark rose to his feet, stern and solemn. 

u I have one question to ask: Was it to save men or 
to gain more hearers, and, as a consequence, more pop- 
ularity and more money that you joined an order 



362 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

whose badge you are ashamed to wear openly? You 
need not answer it to me. Answer it to God and your 
own soul.'' 

And having launched this keen arrow of truth Mark 
went his way with an inward prayer for this self-de- 
ceived shepherd of the flock, who after all was not so 
blameworthy as his elders in the ministry who had 
lured him by their example into such a path of 
hypocrisy and time serving. 

Eider Chadband was an altogether different subject 
to deal with. Far from being ashamed of Masonry he 
gloried in the many degrees he had taken, and sounded 
the praises of the handmaid at every funeral and cor- 
ner-stone laying at which the fraternity figured, far 
and near. 

He saw with alarm the serious trouble that Mark's 
fanatical views were likely to make in the conference, 
and he felt warranted in using almost any measure that 
might rid that body of his undesirable presence. But 
he believed in trying a little diplomacy first, and to 
this end he sought an interview with Mark, who, on 
his part, had rather avoided any discussions with the 
Elder, considering him as being too much in the situa- 
tion of the Scriptural Ephraim to warrant the hope 
that any good might arise therefrom. He was there- 
fore proportionately surprised when the Elder thus 
urbanely began the conversation: 

u While I am sorry that } r ou feel it your duty to op- 
pose such an excellent thing as Freemasonry, my dear 
brother Stedman, a system that in its leading points is 
drawn from revelation and teaches in such an admira- 
ble manner so many important moral truths, I must 
say that your sincerity and earnestness, however misdi- 
rected, is above praise. And I wish that there was 
more of that spirit in the church. We need a fresh 



UNDER THE JUNIPER TREE. 363 

baptism of the old-time zeal. There is too little of it 
altogether too little of it now-a-days. 1 ' And the 
Elder sighed as if deeply impressed with the melan- 
choly truth just uttered. 

Mark opened his eyes. What did it mean? Was 
Saul also among the prophets? 

" Now, I believe in the largest Christian liberty, 1 ' 
continued the Elder, not waiting for an answer, " and 
no doubt one important use of having so many differ- 
ent sects is to make that liberty possible. I have been 
seriously thinking, my dear brother Stedman, that in 
some other church holding similar views on the subject 
of Masonry, you could preach those views without 
offense, and thus labor with more freedom and a greater 
prospect of usefulness. Of course we should be sorry 
to lose one of our most valuable preachers; but our loss 
would be the gain of some other denomination, such 
as the United Brethren, for instance. We will give 
you letters of recommendation to that or any church 
you may prefer." 

Mark's eye flashed. He had been unsuspicious, hith- 
erto; now he saw through the whole thing. Elder 
Chadband had been playing to perfection the part of 
a boa constrictor,, which slimes its victim over before 
swallowing it, and I am afraid that Mark's reply to his 
proposal had less than the usual savor of Gospel meek- 
ness. 

u Is this Christian liberty to be able to declare the 
whole counsel of God, not freely in any part of the 
church universal, but only in a few sectarian by-ways 
and corners? No. Elder Chadband, while 1 have 
Christian fellowship with all who walk in the truth, by 
whatever name they are called, the church of the 
Wesleys is the church of my adoption. It was there 
my first vows were paid, and until she casts me out of 
her communion I will join no other." 



364: HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

This outburst rather startled Elder Chadband. He 
had hoped for a different result, not calculating that 
there was still some unquenched fire under Mark's 
meek countenance and threadbare coat. 

u Really, brother Stedman " and there was a decided 
dropping of the Elder's urbane tone " I am grieved 
that you should take a mere kindly hint in such a 
spirit. We are commanded to separate ourselves from 
such as cause schism and offense, and to tell you the 
truth, many in our conference consider you liable to 
that charge. So in the truest spirit of brotherly love 
I have pointed out to you a course that will prevent all 
necessity for such a painful and disagreeable step." 

" It seems, then, tha't you are willing to recommend 
me to some unsuspecting church as ; a brother beloved 
for his work's sake, while all the while I am lying un- 
der a grievous charge of ' causing schism and offense.' 
You would have me act a lie by representing that I 
seek another church from personal preference, when i 
do it to avoid the 'painful and disagreeable' notoriety 
of being forcibly ejected by the one I go from. Is this 
Christian charity or lodge dissimulation? If truth, 
faithfully preached, causes schism in any church, the 
worse for that church. Elder Chadband, in the day of 
Christ's appearing, how will you answer before him for 
your connection with a system that points out to man 
another way of salvation than through his atoning 
cross? How will you bear to stand at his judgment 
bar with the blood of souls clinging to your skirts that 
the lodge has deluded and destroyed? Woe unto you 
Masonic pastors, for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven 
against men. Ye neither go in yourselves, and them 
that are entering in ye hinder." 

And having thus delivered his righteously indignant 
soul, Mark left Elder Chadband in a more disturbed 



UNDER THE JUNIPER TREE. 365 

state of mind than Masonic philosophy would seem to 
warrant, and more than ever confirmed in his opinion 
that brother Stedman was a dangerous man to remain 
in the ranks of the Methodist ministry. 

Now Elder Cushing's church in Brownsville, Avas 
Baptist, and though, as Mark truly said, the church 
of the Wesley s was the church of his adoption, he 
always felt in the hidden depths of his soul a yearning 
impulse of affection towards that particular chamber in 
Zioii where he had been cradled. So when a certain 
Baptist minister came in his way a little while after, 
who "had never joined the lodge, and considered all 
secret societies at variance with the spirit of the Gos- 
pel, 1 ' Mark began with considerable hopefulness to 
urge upon him his duly as a Christian minister to ex- 
press those views in the pulpit. 

U I have very few Masons in my church; I could 
count them all on my finger's ends," said the Baptist 
pastor, looking a trifle disturbed at this very direct ap- 
plication of his principles. " It would hardly be worth 
the while for me to leave the saving doctrines of the 
Gospel to preach on a side issue." 

"You acknowledge that Masonry is an evil thing," 
returned the severely logical Elder. " Then if you, 
have one Mason in your congregation his soul is in 
danger, and you can no more neglect to warn him 
without incurring guilt than if there were fifty or a 
hundred." 

The Baptist minister was silent for a moment and 
then answered coldly: 

" You were once yourself in the Masonic order I un- 
derstand." 

"It is true that I have worn the mark of the beast." 
quietly answered the Elder, and for a short time I ren- 
dered him faithful service. But Christ's own blood 
washed away that mark long ago." 



366 HOLDEST WITH CORDS. 

" Well, everybody has his own ideas of duty, Elder 
Stedman. Now for my part I couldn't take the solemn 
obligations that are required of all who become Free- 
masons and then feel right to break them afterwards. 
The just man, we are told, sweareth to his own hurt 
and changes not. So we must agree to differ on the 
other question. I think hobbies should be kept out of 
the pulpit reform hobbies as much as any." 

This was the taunt that sent Mark under his juniper 
'tree that is to say, into his plain, bare little study, 
where he paced back and forth for a while, his whole 
soul in one of those wild tumults to which only the 
still, small voice can speak peace. But the earthquake 
and the whirlwind must go before. Where he had a 
right to expect understanding and sympathy, he had 
received a stone nay, worse; a stinging scorpion. 
His heart writhed under the injustice and cried out in 
the bitterness of its agony. Why must he ever lead 
a forlorn hope? Why must he be the one to always 
stand in the breach? How could he hope to batter 
down this grim fortress of secret iniquity single-hand- 
ed? Had he not been very jealous for the Lord God 
of Hosts when every pastor around him was either 
openly committed to the worship of Baal or preserving 
a cowardly and shameful silence? Surely he had 
battled long enough. Death seemed better than life; 
an ignominious retreat better than to continue a hope- 
less struggle with the church and the world against him. 

But God never leaves his servants under the juniper 
tree without sending an angel to strengthen them. 
And even now his angel was on the way to strengthen 
the poor, diseouraged Elder who, to spiritual weakness, 
was beginning to add bodily faiutness; though when 
there came a tap at his study door, which he took for a 
call to dinner, he only answered : 



UN DEE THE JUNIPER TREE. 367 

" I think I won't come down to-day, Hannah." 

Hannah was used to her husband's frequent seasons 
of fasting, and it did not strike her as anything un- 
usual, bo she only replied: 4> There is a stranger wait- 
ing below who wants to see you. He didn't give me 
his name.' 1 

" Tell him I will be there in a moment." 

As soon as Hannah closed the door Mark threw him- 
self on his knees and tried to pray; but the moment 
passed in a wordless trance of pain; and, rising, he went 
wearily down stairs to greet his unknown visitor. 

That the rough-looking stranger in blue jean trousers, 
tucked into very muddy boots, who shook his hand with 
such awkward warmth, was just as divinely appointed 
to bring him help and comfort as any angelic messenger 
that ever appeared to patriarch or prophet in the Old 
Testament times, was an idea that never dawned in 
even the most indistinct fashion on the Elder's mind. 

" I'm glad ye didn't get no hurt the other night, par- 
son," was the first greeting of the unknown. 

" Thank you, my friend." replied the Elder. u The 
Lord is truly a shield and buckler to them that fear him." 

" Well, I went fifteen miles to hear that lecture, and 
I tell you, parson, I was just thundering mad at the way 
you showed us up; so I was as ready as any on 'em to 
boar my part when the rumpus begun. But you had a 
kind of look as you stood there with the rotten eggs 
flying about that made me think of my old Methodist 
mother when dad used to curse and swear at her about 
her religion and threaten all kinds of things if she 
didn't leave off her singing and praying. And arter 
all I don't know but I was more glad than sorry at 
your getting off so slick when that chap blew out the 
lights and left us groping in the dark, like the Syrian 
army that was sentT to take the prophet Elisha. You 
see I stumbled right on that ar passage when I was 
hunting up the eighth chapter of Ezekiel. I was bound 
to find out if there was really anything in the Bible 
about Masonry; and for all it was two o'clock when I 
got home, I raked up the fire and went at it. And I 



368 HOLDER WITH COEDS. 

tell you, parson, that ar chapter in Ezekiel is a stunner. 
It just knocked me flat to think I'd been worshiping 
the sun like any heathen. And now I've come out 
from the lodge for good and all. I don't want no more 
of it. The Lord has come into my heart and taken all 
the Masonry clean out of me. I hate it worse'n pizen, 
I do; and now, parson, I want a lecture in our parts as 
soon as you can come and give one. My name is Tim- 
othy Bundy, and I live at Bundy's Flats, just over the 
river. Maybe vou know the place?" 

The Elder had heard of Bundy's Flats. He knew it 
was a hard locality, but at that moment though a legion 
of devils had beset his way he would have gone all the 
same. Surely God had spread a table for him in the 
desert and riven the rock at his need, and his fainting, 
discouraged soul mounted up as on eagle's' wings in 
exulting triumph over all the powers of earth and hell. 

It is in the fiery furnace that a form appears like the 
Son of Man. Scorn, contempt, persecution, still beset 
the Elder's path, and he saw no reason to hope for any- 
thing else till he reached the end of his mortal journey. 
But a spirit of divine joy in doing and suffering for the 
grand eternal cause of Truth just as long as that cause 
needed him, now possessed his soul. Was it not an 
earnest of victory that he had been allowed to convert 
even one soul from the worship of Baal to serve the 
only living and true God? 

"'Praise" the Lord, Mr. Bundy, for bringing you out 
of darkness into his marvelous light," he said, as he 
grasped the stranger's rough hand. U I will gladly 
give a lecture in your place at any time you may set." 

And having consented to an arrangement for Friday 
night of the following week and seen his visitor off, the 
Elder rose up from under his juniper tree and did the 
most sensible thing he could do, which, we are told, was 
the course followed by Elijah in somewhat similar cir- 
cumstances he did eab and drink. 




CHAPTER XXXIX. 

A FORETASTE. 

'R. TIMOTHY BUNDY was a specimen 
of a particular class of men once com- 
mon in Ohio and the bordering States. 
He had been a hunter and trapper in his 
youth, \vas of Herculean frame and cor- 
responding strength, and there was a legend 
current in the lodge that he had proved a 
very troublesome member to initiate, for in- 
stead of allowing himself to be knocked down 
quietly and buried in due form under a pile of rubbish 
at the east gate of Solomon's Temple, he had taken the 
farce for a literal attack and pitched his assailants right 
and left to the imminent danger of breaking their bones. 
Elder Stedman fulfilled his appointment and lectured 
at Bundy's Flats, to a small but more quiet and well- 
behaved audience than he had any reason to expect 
after his late experience at Quipaw, which was in com- 
parison quite a center of civilization and refinement. 
But truth often has the freest course in seemingly most 
unpromising places, and nowhere were the Elder's 
labors more signally blessed of the Lord than at Bundy's 
Flats. The two dollars given him at the close of the 
lecture was certainly meagre pay, but the Elder was 
satisfied. Not so Mr. Bundy, who took him aside at 
parting with a rather mysterious air. 

u Now,, parson, I want to tell you your life ain't never 
safe. One month ago if I had been picked ofit by the 
lodge to cut your throat, I should have done it" . 



370 BOLDEST WITH CORDS. 

This revelation did not startle the Elder. He knew 
too well what a terrible power the oaths of the lodge 
have over an ignorant and blinded conscience. 

" Thank the Lord, Mr. Bundy, that he has given you 
a better mincl," he calmly answered, u and pray that 
his grace may work the same blessed change in others." 

U I know we orter pray and not to faint, but grace 
don't do its work all in aminit, you'll find. Now, par- 
son, this ere is a fust-rate revolver, brand new, and I'm 
going to make ye a present of it. You ain't obleged 
to let it be known you kerry one, bem' a minister, and 
you ain't obleged to use it I mean on any ornary 
occasion; but it's a good plan to have some sich thing 
about ye jest for a scarecrow, to scare off folks as might 
want to meddle with ye to your hurt sometimes." 

The Elder remembered Peter, and his answer to this 
warm-hearted but ignorant disciple had a decided savor 
of mild rebuke. 

"The Lord has wonderfully preserved my life hitherto 
from all the snares evil men have set for it, and would 
you have me begin to distrust him now by relying on 
anything else than his own mighty arm for protection? 
'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh 
flesh his arm and departeth from the Lord.' '' 

Mr. Bundy Stood irresolute. Almost without physi- 
cal fear himself, all the more did he realize the dangers 
which beset the Elder. His sudden conversion had 
generated a spiritual force and fervor that had as yet 
developed in the active rather than the passive line of 
direction, for like most men of his peculiar physique 
the animal in him having the start to begin with, was 
not immediately subdued by days or even weeks of this 
new, controlling spiritual force which had arrested him 
like Saul of old, "breathing out threatenings and 
slaughter," and bent him by the power of its mighty 



A FORETASTE. 371 

mysterious will to confess and forsake his false worship. 
Still he felt a strange reverence come over him for the 
meek and fearless Elder. Far back in his rough boy- 
hood he remembered a timid, shrinking woman who, 
nerved with the same divine courage, had patiently 
borne threatening and abase for Christ's sake; and 
though for long years her spirit had walked, palm- 
crowned, the heights of Paradise, Timothy Bundy 
wiped his eyes on his coat sleeve as the vision passed 
before him. 

"I don't know but you're in the right on it, parson." 
he said, finally, laying back the revolver on the shelf. 
"Anyhow, take this,*' and he pressed some bills into 
the Elder's hand. u It was what I've been saving up 
to pay my lodge dues with, and if you don't need it for 
yourself jest take it to help on the work in some place 
where they are poorer than they be at Bundy's Flats." 

The Elder took the offering with a heart of grateful 
joy. To him there was a peculiar preciousness in this 
first fruit of his labor. Gladly should it all be laid on 
Christ's altar; oh, how gladly! 

" God bless you, brother Bundy," he said, u and fear 
not what man's rage can do. He hath preserved me in 
six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch me." 

The Elder rode home in a state of calm, exultant 
happiness. There are times when to the soul of every 
sufferer for God's truth he gives a glimpse, as it were, 
of the final victory. And to Elder Stedman came an- 
other such experience of joy and triumph as he remem- 
bered having once before when the shot of the secret 
assassin rang through the still, green woods, and but 
for the hand of protecting providence would have 
terminated his career on its very threshold. The years 
that stretched behind lay bathed in the sunlight of di- 
vine goodness; he remembered not one hard place in 



372 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

his pilgrimage, no Slough of Despond, no Hill of 
Difficulty, no Valley of the Shadow of Death. And 
over the days that lay before glowed that same mellow 
[ndian summer light. Many or few, what mattered it ? 
Sooner or later he must fall in this strife and another 
take his place, as full of youthful strength and ardor 
as was he when he first stepped into the ranks. But 
he was willing, nay, joyful, to die on the field with no 
huzzas of victory ringing in his death-dulled ears, for 
only a little while and the end would surely come for 
which the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in 
pain the end of every wrong, the triumph of eternal 
right in the world-wide reign of the Lamb. Welcome 
persecution, welcome revilings, welcome the martyr's 
crown if so be it actually glittered for him over those 
turbid waters that rolled so dark and chill this side of 
the heavenly Canaan! Living or dying he was more 
than conqueror. 

The Elder roused himself from his reverie and spoke 
a cheery word to the patient steed on which his old 
love of animals now found its chief outlet and center. 
The intelligent beast responded thereto by breaking 
into a brisk trot, probably accelerated by certain equine < 
considerations of the snug stable and feed of oats 
waiting for him at his journey's end. 

But the Elder's lecture had not failed to rouse the 
baser elements at Bundy's Plats as well as at Quipaw 
Creek. A few nights afterwards Mr. Bundy was roused 
by a rap at his door. A little barefooted child stood 
without, weeping bitterly, and in response to that 
worthy man's astonished inquiries, sobbed out: 

" You woix t let them do anything to that good Elder, 
will you, Mr. Bundy? He come to our house and 
talked and prayed with ma, and she says he seemed just 
like one of the angels of God, only when she said so 
before pa it made him swear." 

" They shan't do anything to him if I know it. 
Come in. Bub, and tell me what you mean," said Mr. 
Bundy, who recognized in the child the little son of a 



A FORETASTE. 373 

consumptive woman wno lived about a mile away, and 
whose husband was both a Mason and a hard drinker. 

u I heard pa and some other men talking about the 
Elder," said the child in a frightened whisper. "I was 
in bed and they were talking and drinking down below. 
And they said such awful things of what they would 
do if they should catch him in the dark. And they are 
going to burn his house down, Mr. Bundy, I heard 
them say so. I kept still till I thought they were gone 
and then I jumped out of bed and run over to you; I 
thought you could stop their doing it." 

"Now look here, Bub, 1 ' said Mr. Bundy. after staring 
for an instant at the wee mite who, with a courage be- 
yond his years, had braved all the terrors of the dark- 
ness to avert the danger that threatened the Elder. 
u Here's a prime turkey I shot to-day. I've been reck- 
oning to send it to your ma. Come over te-morrow 
and you can have it. But now run home, sonny, and 
get into bed as quick as you can, and don't forget to 
say your prayers. I reckon the good Lord above will 
take care of the Elder." 

The child departed somewhat comforted. Mr. Bundy 
hastily dressed himself, drew on his boots, saddled his 
horse and was soon galloping through the night with 
one hope in his heart that the warning had not come 
too late and he should get the start of the incendiaries. 

He never stopped to question, as one ignorant of the 
nature of secret organizations would be very likely to, 
the credibility of the child's warning; whether it were 
not possible that one of such tender years might have 
mistaken the real tenor of the talk he had overheard. 
.A man who, according. to his own confession to the 
Elder had been so thoroughly enslaved in conscience 
by his Masonic obligations that he would have taken 
human life at the command of his superiors and thought 
he was only doing his duty was not very likely to doubt 
the existence of men in the lodge who would have no 
scruple about committing arson at a similar bidding. 

" But the men who do such things are the scum of 
the community as u rule, 1 ' objects one of those would- 



374 fiOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

"be defenders of the lodge, whose name is legion, and 
whose sole knowledge of the Masonic system is based 
on whatever fact or tiction any Mason in the plenitude 
of his wisdom may kindly vouchsafe to impart. 

Were the men who murdered Morgan the scum of' 
western New York? Were the Ku-Klux Klaus with 
their midnight reign of desolation and terror the 
scum of the South? And, granted this assertion to be 
a fact, why does not the lodge skim off a little of the 
aforesaid "scum" by denouncing the acts and expelling 
the offenders ? But, instead, it elevated Morgan's mur- 
derers to higher honors and fraternized with the secret 
orders of the South, their hands still crimson with the 
blood of hapless negroes and unoffending Union men. 

What is the language of facts like these. 

It is true that in the present case a drinking, profane 
fellow, who had as little regard for Lindley Murray as 
he had for the Ten Commandments, had been talked 
and fuddled by his fellows of the lodge into thinking 
not only that the safety of the craft had been imper- 
illed by the Elder's late lecture, but also that it was an 
imperative Masonic duty to teach him a lesson on 
minding his own business a subject on which it will 
be remembered that the lodge had remarkably clear* 
ideas and that he, the individual above mentioned 
could do the job more scientifically than anybody else. 

But did this catspaw for lodge iniquity who, though 
worthless and degraded, was no fool, undertake such a 
business without knowing that he was backed up by 
the oaths of the whole fraternity, ministers, judges and 
officers of the law not excepted, to keep his crime for- 
ever a secret? Then where should the responsibility, 
be laid? I leave it to the honest, candid reader who 
has followed me in my story thus far, to say. 

It was a night partly clear, partly cloudy, with a 
few stars peeping out, and a brisk wind blowing. The 
elder lived about a mile the other side of the river from 
Bundy's Flats. 

Mr. Bnndy urged his horse through the stream, and, 
just as he emerged on the opposite shore a tongue of 



A FORETASTE. 375 

flame shot up, reddening the night heavens. It was in 
the direction the Elder livecj, and with n smothered ex- 
clamation he put spurs to his steed and dashed forward 
towards the scene of the conflagration. 

The barn had caught first. The Elder, awakened by 
the glare flashing across his eyes, and not conscious as 
yet that the same insidious foe was beginning to 
wreathe in serpentine rings the framework of the 
house itself, roused his sleeping wife and rushed out 
intent on rescuing, if possible, the faithful horse that 
had borne him so many long miles in his Master's ser- 
vice. But it was too late. The fire had made too great 
a headway, and the Elder himself, in his vain attempt 
to rescue the poor animal, ventured too far, for as he 
turned to retreat, driven back by the smoke arid flames, 
he was struck by a timber from the burning building 
and felled to the ground. 

Rough but kindly hands instantly dragged him to a 
place of safety and dashed cold water over his face and 
hands. Mr. Bundy's prompt appearance on the scene 
had saved the Elder's life, but none of his worldly pos- 
sessions beyond a few valuables hastily snatched from 
the burning house, which in ten minutes was one sheet 
pi hissing, crackling flame, and in ten more a smoulder- 
ing ruin. 

The Elder's injuries proved serious. For days and 
weeks it seemed to himself and to others as if his work 
on earth was done. But he rallied slowly. His manner 
of living, temperate as an anchorite's, was in his favor, 
and when spring again returned he was lecturing and 
preaching with all his old-time zeal and not a whit 
profited by his woful experience. 

Nobody doubted that Masonic vengeance had fired 
his buildings. At the same time Mark received that 
meed of sympathy so freely given to persecuted reform- 
ers in the anti-slavery times: u It is too bad, such a 
s:ood man as Elder Stedman is but why can't he let 
Masonry alone?" 




CHAPTER XL. 

THE VICTOKY OVER THE BEAST. 

VERY old, and, in his day, unpopular 
reformer has thus summed up his per- 
sonal experience: ''Persecuted but not 
forsaken, cast down but not destroyed, 
chastened but not killed;" thus epitom- 
izing for all future ages the experience of 
those elect souls who stand out from among 
their fellowmen with a prophet's commission 
of rebuke and warning, and with too often a 
prophet's fate of being misunderstood and rejected by 
the generation to whom they are sent. To Mark Sted- 
man the Apostle's paradox seemed no strange thing. 
Ever since that hour of bitter discouragement and un~ 
looked for lifting up he had never lost the consciousness 
of a victorious divine power working in him and 
through him, turning sorrow into joy and defeat into 
triumph, and making his pathway always radiant with 
the light that streams from the Paradise of God. But 
there was one more cup of trial for him to drink. He 
had seen it looming dimly in the distance ever since 
his talk with Elder Chadband the same cup which has 
been pressed to the lips of many a devoted servant of 
God. The church he loved, in whose service he had 
grown gray, was about to cast him out, and for no 
other reason than because he loved her too well and 



THE VICTORY OVER THE BEAST. 377 

served her too faithfully to tolerate the secret iniquity 
she cherished in her bosom. 

" The fact is," said Mark, when Rachel and I, having 
heard some hint of this new trouble, rode over to see 
him, u it has long been a preconcerted thing between 
Elder Chadband and some other members of the con- 
ference to expell me from the Methodist church if they 
possibly can. And now they think the time is ripe. 
The charges are frivolous and unfounded, but they will 
cast me out whether the evidence sustains them or not. 
I have no reason to expect anything else." 

u Oh, Mark!" exclaimed Rachel, indignantly; ** when 
you have been such a faithful shepherd of souls, a 
preacher after Wesley's own heart, instant in season 
and out of season; never thinking of gain or ease like 
others now to turn round and kick you out of the 
ministry. It is shameful, abominable!" 

"I think I shall have to talk to you as I do to good 
brother Bundy," answered Mark ; smiling on his ex- 
cited sister. "Ever since his wonderful conversion 
from Masonry to Christ he has stood out against the 
threats and persecution of the lodge as bold as a lion. 
I shall never forget how he came to my help once in 
the sorest soul strait I ever knew, like one sent of God; 
or how nobly he has stood by me ever since. But I 
must confess there are times when I find the old Adam 
in him very troublesome, and the late action of the 
conference has stirred him up to such a degree that I 
could hardly talk him into anything like calmness. 
He is a genuine son of thunder. If he had his way he 
would call down fire from heaven on all the lodges in 
the land and burn them up like the cities of the plain. 
But he is a great, grand, large-hearted disciple never- 
theless." 

u It is hard," said the Elder's wife, who had been si- 



378 HOLDEK WITH COKDS. 

lent hitherto; "very liard that Mark should be turned 
out of the ministry in his old age for the crime of being 
too faithful to souls. And I must say that at first I 
felt a good deal like sister Rachel. I couldn't be 
reconciled. But now I feel differently. They who 
would live godly in this life must suffer persecution. 
It is not the church which is doing all this to Mark; it 
is that terrible spirit of anti-Christ which has taken 
possession of the church. God give us strength to 
1 withstand in the evil day, and having done all to 
stand. 1 " 

So spoke the Elder's wife, who had not forgotten her 
girlhood's terrible experience with this same spirit of 
the lodge. It had persecuted her father to his death in 
like manner as it was now persecuting her husband. 
But this plain-faced, quiet-looking woman had as truly 
the martyr's seed within her as any of those worthy 
women of old times who receive such glowing mention 
in the Epistle to the* Hebrews. 

There was a moment's silence and then the conver- 
sation turned to family matters, for only the week be- 
fore the last of our home-birds had flown in a mist of 
white muslin and orange blossoms. Anson Lovejoy, 
though a staid, elderly man, had not found his superior 
years any bar to winning Grace. And thus Rachel and 
I were again left I was about to say as in the first year 
of our married life, alone with each other but there 
was one very important difference in the fact that no 
lodge oath now came between us to part asunder those 
whom God had joined together. 

But as Mark and I stood by tha open door talking 
over the matter of the approaching church trial, I sud- 
denly noticed how aged the Elder had grown. Yet 
never had he seemed more like the Mark of old times 
with the intense ideality and enthusiasm that had once 



THE VICTORY OVER THE BEAST. 379 

led him such a fool's chase through the swamps and 
fogbanks of error when he mistook a deluding ignis 
fatuus for the guiding star of truth the brave loyalty, 
the burning devotion that had characterized his first 
surrender of every worldly ambition at the call of 
Christ, not one whit abated, he was the same Mark 
Stedman who sat on the back stoop, in the glow of that 
far away spring sunset, when, we talked together about 
joining the lodge. 

" It has been a hard warfare, Leander," he said, " but 
I would not wish to enter Heaven with one honorable 
scar the less.'' 

" Well, Mark," said I, " T must say I don't feel easy 
at the risk you are constantly running. There is an 
Old Country proverb that k the pitcher that goes often 
to the well gets broken at last,' and in spite of the as- 
sertion lodge men sometimes make that 'they have 
stopped killing since Morgan's day,' I know the last 
martyr has not yet been sacrificed to the implacable 
spirit of the lodge." 

44 Well, Leander, I have always said that if the cause 
of truth requires the sacrifice of my life, I am willing 
to be offered. But it seems to me that I already see 
whether in prophetic hope or positive reality I can 
hardly tell the first feeble beginnings of a great re- 
form which is destined to sweep the church and nation. 
Intelligent freemen cannot long resist conclusions 
forced upon them as they have so lately been forced 
upon the people of Granby. And when once this 
question is carried to the ballot box, the lodge will see 
the handwriting on the wall." 

I was about to answer, but Mark suddenly turned 
pallid, and sinking into the nearest chair covered his 
face for a moment with his hands. 



380 HOLDEK WITH CORDS. 

' You are ill," I said, in alarm. But Mark only 
made a deprecatory gesture. 

u Don't call any one. Hannah knows nothing of 
these ill turns and I don't care to have her know, for I 
think they are some after result of the accident that 
happened to me last spring, and I am hoping will pass 
entirely off when I gain my full health and strength. 
Thank God that it only affected my body and not my 
mind. I can deliver as sturdy blows for the truth as I 
ever did." 

I was not quite satisfied, but my mind was too fully 
possessed by other fears to attach much importance to 
a passing indisposition which he himself treated so 
lightly, knowing as I did that he had gone to work 
long before his health was entirely recovered. I saw 
him beset by mobs or waylaid in his solitary journey- 
ings; but I did not see that his brave, noble heart was 
breaking in a martyrdom slower but not less sure than 
if the 'knife or the bullet of the secret assassin had 
been permitted to wreak their deadly vengeance. 

As Mark needed me for a witness I attended the 
meeting of the conference, but I will not trouble the 
reader with any wearisome details of the" proceedings. 
Suffice it to say that the specifications read by Elder 
Chadband really amounted to but two: u Speaking to 
the injury of his brother ministers and neglecting his 
proper work on the circuit to lecture against Masonry." 

To these charges Mark pleaded not guilty, and a 
cross-examination of witnesses elicited nothing farther 
than the fact that on several occasions, when his spirit- 
had been especially stirred within him by the lodge 
idolatry of some of the leading members of the con- 
ference, he had denounced them freely as " hireling 
shepherds " who fed not the flock, and consequently 
had not the smallest business to be in the ministry at 



THE VICTORY OVER THE BEAST. 381 

all. As to neglecting his proper work to lecture on 
Masonry, it was clearly proved that he had held on an 
average as many preaching services as any other mem- 
ber of the conference; and it was also clearly proved 
that the leading prosecutor, Elder Chadband himself, 
had been known more than once to neglect his regular 
ministerial work to participate in the ceremonies at 
some Masonic gathering. But what avails innocence 
against inquisitorial power? They could tolerate no 
longer the rebuke of Mark's presence among them, and 
were bound to cast him out. or, to use Elder Chad band's 
expression, "put him where he could do the least harm. 11 

Mark had no counsel and made his own defense be- 
fore the conference. 

" Brethren," he said, " I stand among you accused of 
serious offenses, which the witness against me has ut- 
terly failed to prove. You, in your secret hearts, know 
that the real ground of the accusation is my uncom- 
promising hostility to Freemasonry. That hostility 
will never abate. It will only grow stronger with every 
breath I draw. I boldly declare that the Rules of Dis- 
cipline faithfully carried out would expell ev*ry Ma- 
sonic pastor in this conference. There are no less than 
sixty-nine different oaths in the first seven degrees of 
Masonry. And this, in the face of that part of the 
Discipline which forbids 4 all v.iin and rash swearing,' 
and any taking of oaths 'save when the magistrate 
may require in a cause of faith and charity, so it be 
done according to the prophet's teaching in justice, 
judgment and truth.' Is there justice, judgment or 
truth in these obligations with their fiendish penalties, 
their terrible trifling with Jehovah's name? 

" I charge Masonic pastors ever} 7 where with the sin 
of Balaam. They cause God's people to err, they deny 
the Lord that bought them, and will surely, unless the 



382 HOLDER WITH CORDS. 

Spirit of the Lord leads them to repentance, bring upon 
themselves swift destruction. ; Woe be unto the pas- 
tors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, 
saith the Lord. 1 Shall I, by keeping silent, incur their 
doom? Najr, ten thousand times better be shut out 
not only from the Methodist church but from every 
church in the land. 

" I have offended in no point the rules of the Dis- 
cipline. I have ever striven to go in and out among 
you with a conscience void of offense and in a spirit of 
meekness and charity towards all men. The Lord 
judge between us and lay not to your charge the sin of 
casting me out for no other reason than because I re- 
fuse to bow the knee to Baal." 

Mark sat down. Once more he had flung his gage of 
defiance at the Beast. 

The after proceedings did not seem to interest him. 
He sat with a strange look on his face, a high celestial 
expression, as of one who had fought his last battle and 
conquered his last foe, and was waiting in serene silence 
the moment of palms and shouts of victory, and lifting 
of triumphal gates. 

The committee retired and in a little while made 
their report, which was to the effect that they had 
found all the charges against Elder Stedman sustained 
and therefore adjudged him suspended from the minis- 
try of the church and all church privileges. 

The Elder started up as if to rise and speak, but sank 
back in his chair with a groan. The medical man who 
was hastily summoned coulct do nothing more than 
pronounce his verdict a case of heart trouble induced 
by the accident which befell him on the night of the 
fire and suddenly developed to a fatal result by the ex- 
citement attending the trial. 

Mark Stedman had borne his last testimony against 



THE VICTORY OVER THE BEAST. 

the lodge. Shut out from the church militant he had 
entered the ranks of the church triumphant. 

"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with 
fire, and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, 
and over his image, and over his mark arid over the num- 
ber of his name, stand upon the sea of glass having the 
harps of God." 

My story is ended. It is the experience of one man 
and must necessarily fail in giving a complete picture 
of that terrible secret system which binds men's souls 
in a network of oaths and obligations to do they know 
not what. But such as it is let the facts here given 
for they are facts which can be indisputably proved 
speak for themselves. 

Freemen of America, I appeal to you. Will you 
bow your necks to wear the yoke of the Secret Em- 
pire? or will you waken to the danger before it is too 
late? It has no respect for human rights. It is mon* 
archical, despotic, inquisitorial. It breathed its first 
breath under the shadow of throned corruption and 
priestly rule. It is as alien to the principles of a free 
republic as light is to darkness. And on you depends 
the question, Which shall rule this fair land, the few or 
the many; the spirit of caste or the spirit of equality? 
The weal or woe of future generations hinges on your 
answer. 

Churches of America, God has a controversy with his 
American Zion. In your npclst is a horrible thing a 
gigantic religious system which ignores his Son and 
proposes to do the Holy Spirit's work of regeneration 
for men a system as dark, cruel and unclean in its 
principles and teachings as the ancient Moloch, toler- 
ated and worshipped! Christian ministers officiating 
at its altars, wearing its dress and sounding its praises! 



384 HOLDEN \\T1H 

Is it strange that the ways of Zion mourn? that the 
bright gold is dimmed and tar^i^ecli' The Lord our 
God is a jealous God. He will not give his glory to 
another. He speaks now in the still, small voice of 
warning and entreaty. How soon he may speak in the 
whirlwinds of judgment who can tell? Before it be 
too late heed His voice who walketh in the midst of the 
seven golden candlesticks. u Repent, or else I will 
come quickly and will fight against thee with the 
sword of my mouth," 

Members of the Masonic order, honest men, kin'l- 
hearted, lovers of truth and justice for I know there 
are many such among you who secretly loathe the 
iron yoke of your slavery, to you I make appeal. As- 
sert your God-given manhood. Deny the power of the 
lodge to bind for a moment what He has forever loosed. 
Your country needs you, but she wants freemen, not 
slaves. God needs you in the great warfare of these 
latter days against anti-Christ, but He 'wants men with 
the martyr spirit who have overcome the Beast through 
the blood of the Lamb and gained the victory over his 
mark. 

On which side will you take your stand? Will you 
be the slaves of the lodge, HOLDEN WITH COEDS of se- 
cret iniquity, or Christ's freemen? The issue lies be- 
fore you. If the Lord be God follow him, but if Baal 
then follow him. 

THE. END. 



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